The beginning is a very good place to start!
A lifetime of good oral health starts from the very beginning. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that starting at birth you can clean your child's gums with a soft toothbrush or soft cloth and water. In addition, every child should have an oral health evaluation by their primary health provider, usually their pediatrician, before age six months.
Once their teeth start to erupt, begin brushing with a soft toothbrush and a rice-sized little drop of fluoride toothpaste.
(Watch Dr. Chen's infant brushing video.)
And importantly, ALL children should see a dentist before their first birthday. The reason is to begin a thorough prevention program. One important concern is Early Dental Caries (also known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries).
What you need to know about primary teeth
We don’t usually think of a newborn as having teeth. However, at birth the crowns of the 20 “baby” or primary teeth are almost completely formed, and they are hidden from view in an infant’s jawbones. Most children have a full set of primary teeth by the time they are 3 years old. Primary teeth may be temporary, but the American Dental Association notes that they deserve good care. A child needs strong, healthy primary teeth not only to chew food easily, but to pronounce words properly.
This first set of teeth also holds a place in the jaw for the permanent teeth, which move into place as the primary teeth are shed. Primary teeth should be kept clean and healthy so that a child can remain free of cavities and oral pain. Infection from decayed primary teeth can damage the permanent teeth developing under them.
Your Baby's First Dental Visit
Your baby's first dental visit is a wonderful milestone to celebrate, AND it can be a pleasant and enjoyable experience for both you the parent, and your infant. Our Bright Smiles of Winter Haven staff not only love babies, but we're specially skilled in making the visit successful. We know how to examine very young babies, and have lots of experience with the "baby-sized" dental evaluation tools required.
During the first visit, we'll take the baby's medical history and conduct a thorough oral evaluation, looking for caries (cavities), or any other irregularities. We'll discuss diet, bottles, brushing, thumb sucking, pacifiers, etc., and answer any questions that you might have about your baby's teeth.
The whole visit will probably take about a half hour, including the history and exam, but we'll take as long as you need, to provide the information and the confidence you need, to start building a terrific foundation for your child's future dental health.