Newborn oral care tips to help keep your baby’s teeth and gums healthy
As the parent of a newborn, you want nothing less than the healthiest start for your baby. It’s never too early to start taking care of your baby’s oral health! A baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present at birth and typically begin to erupt at around four to six months, with most teeth coming in by the age of three. Unfortunately, tooth decay is the most common chronic condition in children, but you can prevent many oral health problems with good oral care starting in infancy. At Triad Pediatric Dentistry in Greensboro, North Carolina, our pediatric dental team loves taking care of our youngest patients’ smiles and helping new parents understand the best ways to keep their baby’s teeth and gums healthy.
What causes cavities in young children?
Cavities can develop as soon as a tooth has erupted and are most commonly caused in young children by frequent and prolonged consumption of sugary drinks such as juice and sweetened water. The enamel that protects baby teeth from decay is thinner than the enamel on permanent teeth, which means that it is easier for decay to penetrate within a baby tooth.
Tips for avoiding cavities
To avoid early tooth decay, we recommend:
- Only giving your baby breast milk, plain water, formula, or milk in bottles and avoiding sugary beverages such as fruit juice, sugar water, and soft drinks.
- Avoid putting your baby to bed with their bottle, even if it contains breast milk or formula; this can contribute to cavities or “baby bottle tooth decay.”
- Do not dip pacifiers in honey, sugar, or other sweets.
- Parents can pass disease-causing bacteria from their mouths to their children, so try to avoid sharing saliva by using the same utensils or putting a pacifier in your mouth to clean it.
- Use a soft, wet rag to gently clean your baby’s gums before their teeth begin to erupt.
- Once your child’s teeth have started to emerge, brush them with a soft-bristled baby toothbrush twice per day using plain water and a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a piece of rice)
- Bring your baby in for their first dental visit when their teeth emerge or no later than their first birthday.
We are here to help you take care of your child’s oral health through all stages of their development. To schedule your baby’s dental visit at Triad Pediatric Dentistry, call us at (336) 804-8668.