The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all pregnant women receive oral healthcare and counseling during pregnancy. Research has shown evidence that periodontal disease can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Talk to your doctor or dentist about ways you can prevent periodontal disease during pregnancy.
Additionally, mothers with poor oral health may be at a greater risk of passing the bacteria which causes cavities to their young children. Mother's should follow these simple steps to decrease the risk of spreading cavity-causing bacteria:
- Visit your dentist regularly.
- Brush and floss on a daily basis to reduce bacterial plaque.
- Proper diet, with the reduction of beverages and foods high in sugar & starch.
- Use a fluoridated toothpaste recommended by the ADA and rinse every night with an alcohol-free, over-the-counter mouth rinse with .05 % sodium fluoride in order to reduce plaque levels.
- Don't share utensils, cups or food which can cause the transmission of cavity-causing bacteria to your children.
- Use of xylitol chewing gum (4 pieces per day by the mother) can decrease a child’s caries rate.
Your child's first dental visit - establishing a "Dental Home"
Our office, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), The American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all recommend that your baby has their first dental checkup by age 1. Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventative and routine oral health care. As a service to our patients, we offer a COMPLIMENTARY well-baby checkup to infants up to 18 months of age!
What happens during my Baby’s first visit?
During the first visit, we will examine your baby’s teeth checking for decay and proper eruption. We will check all the soft tissues in your infant’s oral cavity as well as screening your baby’s growth and jaw development. This is typically done “knee-to-knee” or “lap-to-lap” so that your baby feels secure on your lap, with you giving comfort and holding their hands. Our highly trained staff will go over oral hygiene care, infant safety, healthy nutrition for early years, discuss oral habits and answer every concern that you have.
This appointment is a special visit and gives your baby the right start for years of positive dental care. Our goal is to support your child through the years to develop a lifetime of strong healthy teeth and gums with a beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime.
When will my baby start getting teeth?
Teething, the process of baby (primary) teeth coming through the gums into the mouth, is variable among individual babies. Some babies get their teeth early and some get them late. In general, the first baby teeth to appear are usually the lower front (anterior) teeth and they usually begin erupting between the age of 6-8 months.
See Eruption of Your Child’s Teeth for more details.
Baby bottle tooth decay (early childhood caries)
One serious form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay. This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice, and other sweetened drinks.
Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquid pools around the child’s teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. If you must give the baby a bottle as a comforter at bedtime, it should contain only water. If your child won't fall asleep without the bottle and its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle's contents with water over a period of two to three weeks.
After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place the child’s head in your lap or lay the child on a dressing table or the floor. Whatever position you use, be sure you can see into the child’s mouth easily.
Sippy cups should be used as a training tool from the bottle to a cup and should be discontinued by the first birthday. If your child uses a sippy cup throughout the day, fill the sippy cup with water only (except at mealtimes). By filling the sippy cup with liquids that contain sugar (including milk, fruit juice, sports drinks, etc.) and allowing a child to drink from it throughout the day it soaks the child’s teeth this liquid, leading to rapid breakdown of the teeth and formation of cavities.