Infant Oral Health
Welcoming a new baby is a wonderful and exciting time, but it also comes with a lot of questions. In the first few weeks of your baby’s life, and with so much to think about, their oral care may not even cross your mind. But there is a lot you can do even at this young age to set them on a path to a lifetime of excellent oral health.
At All Smiles Orthodontics and Children's Dentistry, we start treating babies as soon as their first tooth appears or by their first birthday. Our pediatric dentist in Corona, Dr. Lan Nguyen, has all the information and advice you need to understand what is involved with infant oral health. He is always more than happy to answer your questions because ensuring healthy smiles is a team effort, and we will work with you to provide your child with the head start they need to ensure happy, healthy smiles.
Schedule Your Child's First Visit
Seeing a pedodontist, a dentist that specializes in the dental care of young children can help to ensure your child gets off to a healthy start while preventing the risk for developing serious future dental problems. If it's time for your one-year-old's first dental visit, please call and schedule an appointment with Dr. Nguyen. We are pleased to offer pediatric dentistry for children of all ages in Corona, Norco, Riverside, Lake Elsinore, and all surrounding communities.
- Your Child’s First Dental Visit
- Cleaning Your Baby’s Teeth
- Understanding Dental Caries
- Preventing Early Childhood Caries
- The Problem with Finger & Pacifier Habits
- Tips to Stop Finger and Pacifier Habits
Your Child’s First Dental Visit
It is generally a good idea to schedule your child’s first dentist visit once the first tooth has erupted. During this visit, your pedodontist will examine your child’s teeth and determine the potential risk for dental disease, as well as review diet and feeding practices.
This is also a good time to go over habits with Dr. Nguyen that could be harmful to your child’s future dental development. A teeth cleaning may be performed, if necessary. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association, kid’s dental care should begin at the age of one and should continue every six months. If your child has reached their first birthday and hasn't had their first visit, please all our Corona dental office to schedule.
Cleaning Your Baby’s Teeth
Our pediatric dentist in Corona recommends that you gently clean your child’s teeth with a fluoride-free toothpaste or water as soon as the first teeth erupt. You can use a washcloth over your finger, a gauze pad, or a baby toothbrush to clean your baby’s teeth.
It is also important to clean your child’s teeth after feedings and at least twice daily. It only takes a small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a pea, for proper cleaning.
Once your child is old enough to learn how to spit out toothpaste, you can introduce regular toothpaste. It is important to ensure that your child does not ingest excessive amounts of toothpaste on a regular basis as this can cause permanent damage to permanent teeth that are still developing.
Remember that young children have not yet developed the manual dexterity necessary to effectively clean their teeth, so it is important for parents to take an active participant in the oral hygiene of their health. If you have questions about proper brushing techniques, please let us know. We are always more than happy to provide guidance for parents in Corona, Norco, Riverside, Lake Elsinore, and all surrounding communities.
Understanding Dental Caries
Consulting a pediatric dentist at an early age is an important step in preventing dental caries. Many parents don’t realize that this dental disease is both transmissible and infectious.
Some research indicates that it is even possible for infants to acquire agents that cause dental caries from their mothers. It is thought that high levels of bacteria present in the mother’s mouth can potentially increase transmission rates to infants. This can put the child at a much higher risk for cavities later on.
Parents can help to reduce such risks by:
- Not transferring saliva to their children. This commonly occurs by using saliva to clean pacifiers
- Practicing good oral hygiene to reduce oral bacteria in your own mouth
- Making use of antimicrobial mouth rinses
- Maintaining regular dental visits
Our pediatric dentist will be happy to answer your questions about caries prevention for your child, so please call our Corona dental office if something concerns you.
Preventing Early Childhood Caries
Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is caused when a child’s teeth are exposed to sugary liquids, such as juices or milk, on a frequent basis over a long period of time. The risk for tooth decay strongly increases when a baby uses a bottle at night or during naps.
Continuous nursing can also increase the risk for tooth decay. To prevent the risk of such tooth decay, it is important to adhere to the following guidelines:
- Drinking water after nursing or a bottle-feeding
- Weaning from the bottle by the age of one
- Weaning from at-will breastfeeding
Once your child has gotten their first baby teeth, it is crucial to ensure he or she no longer sleeps with a bottle in order to prevent cavities from developing. One of the most important guidelines your Corona children’s dentist will recommend is encouraging your child to stop drinking from a bottle and make the switch to a cup at as early of an age as possible.
The Problem with Finger & Pacifier Habits
Many young children and infants use a pacifier or exercise finger habits. One of the most common reasons for this is that it offers security. In addition, finger habits often provide babies with a way to learn about the world around them. It is actually not uncommon for many babies to suck their fingers prior to birth. Such habits frequently help many children and babies to fall asleep.
Although finger and pacifier habits are quite common among infants and young children, such habits on a prolonged basis can affect the alignment of the teeth and the proper growth of the mouth.
Both the intensity and the frequency of sucking action can play a significant role in determining whether or not a child develops dental problems in the future.
Tips to Stop Finger and Pacifier Habits
Reinforcement and conditioning can prove to be effective motivational methods. Mouth appliances can also be utilized in some instances.
Pacifiers are often easier to cease using due to the fact that parents have increased control over the use of these items.
The best cure for the use of a pacifier is often maturity; however, it should be noted that the age at which a child stops using a pacifier can vary. Therefore, it is important for parents to be patient and provide their children with support.
Other helpful tips include:
- Offering praise rather than scolding
- Rewarding positive behavior
- Correcting the cause of such habits
- Helping your child to gauge his or her success with a chart
Consult your pediatric dentist regarding the best way to assist your child in discontinuing finger habits after the age of four.