Infant Oral Health TipsSaturday, January 12, 2013 by: Dr. Biasucci
Follow these tips to ensure a lifetime of oral health for your child!
*Start cleaning/brushing an infant's gums before his/her teeth erupt. This will ensure the child will be comfortable with someone manipulating and cleaning his/her teeth/mouth. Once teeth erupt continue to clean the entire mouth not just the new tooth/teeth. You may use a soft warm wet washcloth or a baby toothbrush with water or non-fluoridated infant toothpaste at this time. The average age of eruption of the firs tooth is six months, but large variations occur with some children not seeing their first tooth until fifteen months old and some as young as three months.
*Say no to bottles or breastfeeding right before bed. It is imperative that child is not put to sleep with a bottle filled with milk, formula, breastmilk, fruit juice or any other liquid other than plain water. The simple carbohydrate content of these beverages can cause cavities on your infant's teeth, this is called baby bottle cavities. It is recommended to have your child finish his/her bottle or breastfeeding well before bedtime and clean the teeth/gums prior to being put to bed.
*Ensure your child's teeth are exposed to fluoride. These recommendations can vary on areas of the province you live in. In Algoma area we do not have fluoride in our tap water so it is important that you have a discussion with your dentist when an infant's teeth first erupt so he/she can guide you on whether fluoride supplements are necessary. In other areas of the province fluoride is in the tap water so infants are usually exposed to fluoride if they consume tap water. Fluoride is important as it is what mineralizes the tooth and makes it hard/resistant to cavities. Without fluoride a child's teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay regardless of the frequency of brushing.
*Visiting the dentist for the first time is important. A golden rule to follow is to visit the dentist with eruption of the first tooth or first birthday, whichever comes first. Your dentist will examine your child's oral cavity and educate you on dental concerns you may have. Regular dental exams are essential to your child's oral and overall health.
For young children in Sault Ste Marie, Northern Dental Care runs a free program called, Toddler and Child Day at the Dentist. This program provides free dental examination and cleaning to all young children. The goal of the program is to introduce dentistry in a fun and positive way to children to ensure a lifetime of oral health.
To learn about our free dental program that introduces children to dentistry in a fun and positive way visit, or call (705)575-7572