Newborn to 18 Months Old
Infant oral health needs are a crucial part of proper and healthy early development. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) support children seeing a dentist and establishing a dental home by 12 months of age. No child is born with cavities, so it is essential to establish proper brushing and feeding habits at an early age because early childhood cavities are preventable.
Due to the importance of establishing a dental home by a child’s 1st birthday, our office gives back to the community by providing free infant oral health exams up to 18 months of age. These visits put a focus on dental education for the parents, to help establish habits that will prevent cavities and aid in keeping your child pain and cavity free. During these first visits, a parent will sit with their child during the exam, and we will cover many topics from proper brushing, tooth eruption patterns, and establishing healthy habits at home. Most importantly, we give parents ample time to have all questions answered as they become part of our SCV Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics family.
Below are some common questions that are asked during first visits:
How can I make teething easier for my baby?
Teething can lead to on-and-off discomfort in the area of the gums where teeth are erupting. With teething, we can see irritability and excessive salivation; however, many children have no apparent difficulties. If your child is struggling with teething, you can comfort them by allowing them to chew on chilled teething rings. It is important to note that “numbing” teething gels even bought over the counter that have Benzocaine as an ingredient are not recommended due to the potential toxicity. However, there are natural teething gel options such as “Camilia,” which do not have benzocaine, and are safe to use and can provide added relief.
When should my baby see a dentist?
It is important for a child to see a dentist and establish a dental home by their first tooth or first year of age. In order to facilitate this need and spread dental knowledge in the community, we offer free first visit exam for children at 1 year of age.
I have eliminated anything but water during nighttime, and brush my infant’s teeth, what more can I do?
It is important to remember that bacteria can be transferred from family members, so it is important to make sure that all caregivers are maintaining their own oral health and are not sharing utensils.
Is there something I should do before my baby gets teeth?
Establishing a pattern of separate eating and sleeping while your baby is small is very important. Feed the baby, then wipe off the gums with gauze or a clean damp cloth. By keeping eating and sleeping separate your baby will become accustomed to mouth cleaning routines. Keeping the bottle out of the crib allows the baby to learn to sleep through the night at a younger age, and avoids a later struggle over taking away the bottle at bedtime.
When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
Parents should start cleaning their baby’s teeth as soon as they erupt through their gums! To start, parents can use gauze or a clean damp cloth wrapped around their finger after feedings, and most importantly before bedtime to wipe their child’s teeth clean at first. As soon as possible parents should change to using an infant safe toothbrush, as it will help to remove debris and plaque better between the teeth and along the gumline.
Won’t the baby teeth just fall out?
Baby teeth are crucial to maintaining proper health, with the last baby teeth typically falling out around 11-12 years of age! Baby teeth play a crucial part in a child’s life being the first part of digestion and aiding in speech and communication. Childhood cavities are sadly one of the most common chronic diseases in children. Dental neglect resulting in cavities left untreated can cause pain, infection, and allowing for subsequent problems with eating and speaking to develop.
When will my baby get teeth?
Most babies get teeth around 6 months of age, but there is a wide variation with normal healthy teething. Some babies are born with teeth, or have teeth erupting in the first month while others may remain toothless until 18 months of age. The order of these teeth coming in is typically the same with all children, with the first teeth being the lower front, central teeth.
When should I start using toothpaste and how much should I use?
Once teeth erupt, you can start to use toothpaste. Toothpaste provides many minerals and vitamins to help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. Due to young children under 5 swallowing a high percentage of toothpaste, the amount used must be limited. The AAPD suggests only using a “smear” amount of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice for children under 3 years of age.
My baby fell and may have injured their teeth what should I do?
It is very common for young children to fall and have accidents that involve injuries to their teeth. Luckily, teeth are very resilient! If the tooth is still in the same position and firm, the tooth is usually ok. Sometimes the fall may even result in blood along the gumline or small "chips" at the biting edge. However, again, if it is still in the same position, the tooth is ok, and you can wait to be seen by a pediatric dentist. It is very important to have a follow-up visit with a pediatric dentist soon after an accident, just to make sure there is nothing serious; or, if you notice a change in the position of the tooth/teeth or any large fractures.
Contact us at (661) 215-6655 to arrange your baby’s first dental appointment at SCV Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics.
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