New Baby & Dental Care
A guide to kick start your baby’s first years of dental hygiene
Knowing how to approach oral healthcare for your new baby can be challenging. The first 3-12 months will be comprised of swollen/bulging gums, drooling, and irritability as your little one begins teething. As new mom herself, Dr. Mira Diora will soon be experiencing the same obstacles that many of our patients, as new parents, face. Our goal is to simplify the process and provide parents and caregivers with the basics to ensure their child’s smile remains both happy and healthy.
Beginning a healthy diet during pregnancy is vital. The food you consume can directly affect the growth in your unborn child. As teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, it is important you are ingesting enough nutrients. This includes calcium, protein, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and D. Regular dental visits for oral examinations and teeth cleanings are also very important during this time. Pregnancy hormones can make gum tissue increasingly sensitive to plaque and in many cases can develop into gingivitis. It is estimated that 30-80% of women will experience symptoms such as red, bleeding, or inflamed gums, sensitive teeth, or difficulty chewing. Given the prevalence of this condition, it is significantly important to pay close attention when brushing and flossing. This will become your best defense against bacteria.
Once your bundle of joy arrives, the work has just begun. Developing a habit of home dental care at an early age, promotes a lifetime of good dental hygiene. You may even start stimulating the gums prior to the first tooth appearing. This can be done with a clean wet washcloth after each feeding. Continuing this practice until the first tooth appears is preferable.
As soon as you detect a hard knot, or the first sightings of a tooth breaking through, it is time to begin brushing! Keep in mind your baby may have sore or tender gums during this time. It’s best to use a children’s soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Begin brushing his or her teeth twice per day (morning and night). No more than a tiny smear of toothpaste is needed until the child turns three years old. It is important to be aware that your baby’s first dental visit may only entail reviewing their tooth and jaw development. We sometimes refer to it as their first ride in the dental chair. Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Diora will let you know when the first cleaning should be scheduled.
By three years of age, most children will have a full set of 20 baby teeth. Baby teeth hold a very important role in your child’s development. They assist with chewing, speaking, smiling, and holding space in the jaw for their permanent teeth to grow. Essentially, they serve as natural braces. At this age you may increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste from a smear to a pea-sized amount. Remember to always supervise brushing and ensure that no toothpaste is swallowed. By this time, your child will be visiting the dentist regularly for dental check-ups.
At Colony Square Dental Associates, we are here to help you answer any questions about your growing youngster. And we are sure Dr. Diora will soon be sharing stories of her personal experiences with her new baby boy, Shailen!