Baby Dental Care FAQ

Baby Dental Care FAQ
Baby Dental Care FAQ
Presented by McLean DDS
Why Baby Dental Care Matters
“RESEARCH
SHOWS THAT
CHILDREN
WHO DEVELOP
CAVITIES IN
THEIR BABY
TEETH ARE
MORE LIKELY
TO DEVELOP
CAVITIES AS
AN ADULT …”
— Colgate Oral Care Center
Proper baby dental care minimizes the risk of
your children developing cavities, gum disease
and other oral health issues that detract from
their appearance, lower self-esteem, interfere
with sleep and cause pain.
“Only 48 percent of children entering
kindergarten have seen a dentist within
the past year, and 52 percent ages
6 to 8 have tooth decay.”
— U.S. Centers for Disease Control
FAQ 1:
What dental care steps should we take
before our infant’s baby teeth appear?
Caring for your infant’s gums prevents bacteria from building plaque that can
compromise baby teeth when they come in. At least twice a day, gently wipe your
infant’s gums with a moist cloth, piece of gauze wrapped around your finger, or
a soft rubber/silicone finger brush. The best times to do this: after feedings and
before bedtime.
Avoid giving your infant sugary liquids, as sugar encourages plaque buildup.
Fluoride helps build strong enamel when teeth are
forming — if your water supply does not contain
fluoride, consult your dentist or pediatrician
to discuss alternatives.
FAQ 2:
What is the right way to brush
our baby’s teeth?
Start with the right tools — select a toothbrush with extra soft bristles and a small
head, and toothpaste formulated for babies.
There are many toothbrushes designed specifically for infants. Brush at least twice
a day, and always first thing in the morning and before bedtime. Brush gently, and
replace the toothbrush as soon as the bristles appear worn.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a cavity-prevention,
fluoride toothpaste with the baby’s first tooth, but only use a rice-grain dab of
toothpaste with each brushing.
When brushing your baby’s
teeth, patience is a virtue! If your
child becomes agitated, try singing,
letting him/her play with a toy —
or simply wait for a better time.
FAQ 3:
What about thumb
sucking and pacifiers?
Thumb sucking is normal in infants and is usually
not a problem unless it persists past age 4. If
your baby is still thumb sucking at age 2, it’s time
to start discouraging it.
A pacifier is a good replacement for thumb sucking
because it is easier to wean from your child.
However, if you use a pacifier, do not dip it in
honey or another sugary substance, as this can
cause plaque buildup on the gums that can
damage baby teeth as they come in.
FAQ 4:
Is breastfeeding or formula better
for our baby’s oral health?
Breast milk is certainly a very healthy option, as it tends to be easier for the baby to
digest and contains vital nutrients and antibodies. However, formula is also healthy
and for many families a more convenient/practical option.
While some studies show a correlation between breastfeeding and better oral health
— particularly straighter tooth alignment — the results are not conclusive. The reason?
Breastfeeding requires a more natural jaw and tongue movement than a bottle, which
facilitates the proper development of the baby’s oral cavity.
Avoid letting your baby go to bed with a bottle
or breastfeeding at will — these practices
allow milk to pool in the mouth, leading to
an acid buildup that can damage gums
and teeth.
FAQ 5:
When should we stop
bottle-feeding?
When your baby reaches 9-12 months, it
is time to start the transition from a bottle to
a cup.
From an oral health perspective, be sure
not to fill the cup with sugary liquids, as
they promote gum disease and tooth
decay. Water is always a good option,
especially if your baby keeps the cup in
the crib — other liquids, even milk,
facilitate acid buildup in the mouth
(see previous slide).
This presentation is brought to you by McLean DDS.
McLean, Virginia
www.mclean-dentist.com
703-734-2750
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