Your baby’s health is the most important priority. West Roxbury Smiles cares about your child’s well-being, too. Did you know that keeping your baby’s mouth healthy is essential to his or her overall health? We have put together this information for new parents. By showing children at a very young age the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums every day, parents will be providing them a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Brushing and flossing
It’s important to begin oral health care as soon as your baby is born by cleaning his or her gums with a clean gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding. Parents should brush their baby’s teeth gently with a soft-bristled tooth brush and a small amount of water as soon as the first tooth appears, typically between six months and one year. Ask us when to start using toothpaste. Flossing should begin as soon as any two teeth touch. Assist your child until he or she can brush and floss on their own- usually by age six or seven.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay is a dental condition that occurs when a child’s teeth are over exposed to sugary liquids such as breast milk, formula, fruit juice, and milk. It’s not just what your child drinks, but also how often and how long his or her teeth are exposed to sugar. Parents who repeatedly offer their baby a bottle containing sugary liquids, either as a pacifier or at bedtime, can do serious harm to their child’s oral health. Instead, give your baby a bottle of water in between regular feedings.
First dental visits
Because dental health problems can begin at a very early age, parents should schedue their baby’s first visit to the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the baby’s first birthday. In addition to examining your baby’s mouth, teeth, and gums, the dentist will evaluate any adverse habits such as thumbsucking and sugary liquids at bedtime and suggest a schedule of regular dental visits. You can establish a positive relationship between your child and the dentist by starting dental visits by age one and continuing checkups regularly.
Teething normally occurs between the ages of four months and two and a half years, causing sore and tender gums. Common signs of teething include irritabilty, loss of appetite, restlessness, excessive drooling, and waking up during the night. Parents can ease their baby’s discomfort by gently rubbing gums with a clean finger; a small, soft-bristled toothrush; or a wet gauze. A clean, cold teething ring to chew on may also be helpful. If your baby continues to be uncomfortable even after you attempt to ease his or her teething pain, call us at 617.327.4321. Ask our staff today about our specialized product for teething. We offer a safe and effective product containing chamomilla (commonly known as chamomile). Free of benzocaine, belladonna, dyes, and parabens, this product is a homeopathic gel which helps your baby sleep more comfortably. Chamomilla is an aromatic herb that is known for its apple-like taste and odor. It has been used medicinally for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and to treat pain and discomfort.
Thumbsucking and Pacifier use
Thumbsucking and using a pacifier is a normal, soothing reflex for babies and young children. Most children stop sucking on thumbs and pacifiers between the ages of two and four, and typically no harm is done to their teeth and jaws. However, some children will repeatedly suck on a finger or pacifier for long periods of time which may push their upper front teeth toward their lip or their front teeth may not come in properly. Positive measures, such as praise or small rewards, should be given to encourage children to stop. Negative reinforcement or constant nagging can actually have the opposite effect and may push children to suck their thumb or use a pacificer even more.