The American Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist when they receive their first tooth or no later than their first birthday. Children’s Dentistry of North Dallas is proud to welcome children of all ages including infants. You can learn more about your child’s early oral health by reviewing the guidelines below:
Prenatal & Infant Oral Health
When it comes to baby and infant health, the mother’s oral health matters greatly. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has advised all expecting mothers to receive regular dental care and counseling during pregnancy. Research has linked periodontal disease to cases of premature birth and low birth weight.
Women with poor dental health are also at risk of passing bacterial decay to their children. To reduce the risk of spreading bacteria, we encourage you to follow these steps:
- Visit the dentist for regular dental care
- Maintain excellent hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing daily
- Eat a proper diet and reduce sugar and starch intake
- Use a fluoridated toothpaste
- Rinse with mouthwash every night
- Do not share food or eating utensils
- Chew four pieces of xylitol chewing gum daily
Your Child’s First Dental Visit—Establishing a Dental “Home”
Starting at their first birthday, your child should visit the dentist regularly to establish a dental home for preventive and routine care. The dental home can also replace the need for the emergency room in the case of dental emergencies.
When your child is old enough to understand, explain to them why they need to visit the dentist regularly. Avoid using fearful language such as “pain,” “drill,” “pull,” or “hurt.” Our pediatric dentists can provide you with more positive words that still convey the same message to your child.
When will my baby start getting teeth?
The time for teething varies from baby to baby, but the average age is 6-8 months. The anterior, or lower, teeth are the first to erupt.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Dental sealants can be applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars to protect hard-to-reach grooves from bacteria accumulation. The protective coating prevents acid, food and plaque from settling in the pits and fissures.
Fluoride is a natural element that can strengthen tooth enamel when used in proper doses. However, too much fluoride can lead to a chalky white or brown discoloration on the teeth, a condition known as fluorosis. Be aware that fluoride intake can come from toothpaste, drinking water, supplements, and diet.
Keep in mind that two- and three-year-old children will ingest fluoridated toothpaste because they cannot spit it out. Toothpaste ingestion is the leading cause of fluorosis. Fluoride supplements should not be given to children under six months of age and should only be provided at the recommendation of a dentist or pediatrician.
Foods such as powdered formula, soy-based formula, infant dry cereal, infant chicken products, and creamed spinach can contain high levels of fluoride.
To reduce the risk of fluorosis:
- Pair baby tooth cleanser with the right sized toothbrush for your child
- Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
- Be aware of all sources of fluoride
- Obtain results for levels of fluoride in your drinking water
Children who participate in athletic activities increase their risk of dental injuries. We encourage the use of a properly fitted mouth guard to protect your child’s smile. Mouth guards reduce the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the jaw, tongue, and lips. Custom mouth guards will feel comfortable and allow your child to talk and breathe easily.
Xylitol can benefit the oral health of infants, children, teens and those with special dental needs. Mothers who use xylitol gum starting three months after delivery until the child is two years old can reduce cavities as much as 70%. The use of xylitol as a dietary addition or sugar substitute that can reduce and even reverse instances of tooth decay.
Sources of xylitol include:
You can visit your local health food store to find products that contain 100% xylitol.
Beware of Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are known to contain high levels of sugar and acids, making them highly erosive to tooth enamel. Children should forego sports drinks and instead rehydrate with water before during and after athletic activities. If your child enjoys sports drinks, we advise that they:
- Limit the amount and frequency
- Swallow the drink immediately and not hold it their mouth
- Alternate with sips of water
- Only rinse mouth guards in water
- Use dental-friendly sports drinks
Learn more about preventive dentistry in Dallas, Texas, today by contacting our team at 214-378-8868 and scheduling a visit with Dr. Holly, Dr. Iwase or Dr. Shah.