Dental Tips For New Parents
Dr. Carol Jin, DDS and her staff in San Ramon, CA is an experienced Family Dentist. We can help you dispel the common fears associated with first-time dental visits. When handled with excitement and courage, going to the dentist can be a rewarding event for children, toddlers, and even infants. Dr. Carol Jin and her staff are trained to make child and baby check-ups a fun and relaxing experience for the whole family. Here are some of our most common dental tips for new parents:
- Clean gums and teeth twice a day, soon after baby’s birth.
- Understand that fussiness means they’re teething.
- Use different methods to counteract sore gums.
- Use a toothbrush after the first teeth emerge.
- Start flossing after two teeth are touching.
- Schedule first dentists appointment before one year of age.
- Stay positive and make going to the dentist a reward.
- Take advantage of expertise and call us with your questions.
THE FIRST SIX TO TWELVE MONTHS
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that you schedule an oral health risk assessment with a primary care physician when your baby reaches six months of age, during the time when the first tooth is ready to emerge. The importance of this initial visit is to assess and provide preventative measures on common, yet serious, oral diseases that could occur, such as dental caries (baby bottle tooth decay), and guidance on proper oral habits and dietary needs for infants.
By the time your child is a year or younger, it’s important that you schedule an appointment with a dentist. During the first visit, you can expect to receive a thorough and gentle dental exam, demonstration and information on age-appropriate brushing, and risk assessment of other oral diseases and prevention of those issues related to teething and sucking habits, and how to handle and alleviate minor issues particular to your child’s developmental stage.
TEETHING & HOW TO SOOTH THE PAIN
Teething usually begins between three to nine months of age, and is the cause of excessive saliva and frustration for your infant, as it can cause constant soreness and dull aching. It typically takes three years for a child to grow their first full set of 20 teeth. Some kids are not affected by teething, but some may refuse to eat, cry often, have trouble sleeping, and want to bite everything if pain is unbearable.
The FDA says to avoid using topical anesthetics and over-the-counter teething gels as they are possibly toxic to young infants. Also, you should wait until your child is two years old before using fluoride toothpaste. When your baby seems to be in pain due to teething, use the method of applying gentle pressure with a clean cold cloth or directly message the gums with your finger.
You may want to allow your child to chew on a cold teething ring, but make sure to keep it in the fridge and not the freezer, because if it is frozen solid, it can cause damage to the gums. Make sure to clean the teething ring after every use. Other products and techniques worth consideration are: an infant gum massager, rolled-up frozen washcloth, cold spoon (before teeth appear), chilled applesauce, or a bottle filled with ice water.
CLEANING BABY’S TEETH AND GUMS
Days after your baby is born, without a toothbrush or toothpaste, it is important to keep the gums clean of bacteria for many hygienic reasons. Using a finger-cot terrycloth or clean wet cloth apply gentle pressure to wipe away food particles, every morning and night, typically after meals. Use this method of cleaning their gums until a tooth begins to show.
When teeth start to emerge, switch to a soft-bristled infant-sized toothbrush and gently brush twice to three times daily. Avoid using toothpaste until your child is at least two years of age, as children younger than two have not formed the motor functions and attention to properly spit out toothpaste. The appropriate time to begin flossing your child’s teeth is as soon as two teeth are touching.
PROPER DIET FOR A HEALTHY MOUTH
It is known that breastfeeding your baby is by far the most nutritious source for your growing infant, but sometimes it’s not possible. Using sugary drinks in feeding bottles is the number one cause of baby bottle tooth decay, and even alternative milk formulas have added sugars that can harm your child’s growing teeth. That’s why it’s important to properly care for your infant’s gums and emerging teeth regularly, and begin your annual check-ups soon after their first tooth.
CALL US TO SCHEDULE YOUR CHILD’S FIRST APPOINTMENT:
During this time, we understand that new parents ask many questions, and we have the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask. Dr. Carol Jin and her San Ramon staff are here to provide you with the most up-to-date practices and information related to a perfect and happy smile for your newest family member.