Infant Oral Care
Caring for Your Baby’s First Teeth
Taking care of your baby’s first teeth is a very important step in setting the stage for a healthy mouth. When cleaning your baby’s mouth, lay your baby in your lap, with the head closest to your chest. Then, clean the gums and teeth by rubbing a clean, damp washcloth along the baby’s gums. Be sure to follow these steps once after breakfast, and once after their last feeding of the day. This includes cleaning the mouth after adlib breastfeeding or bottle-feeding during midnight hours.
Once your baby has teeth, begin brushing them at least 2-3 times a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water. Toothpaste should not be used until the age of one. It is recommended that an infant’s first dental visit is at age one or within six months after his or her first tooth arrives.
Baby teeth first arrive in the mouth between three and nine months. Teething can make children irritable, and may result in restlessness, loss of appetite, a low-grade fever, or drooling. During the first few years of life, all 20 primary teeth will erupt, and most children have their full set of primary teeth by age three.
Teething begins with the lower two front teeth. Shortly thereafter, your baby will have four incisors on both the lower and upper jaw. Next will be the arrival of their first molars, followed by canines, and then the second molars.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by frequent and prolonged exposure over time to sugary liquids, which can damage your baby’s teeth. Common culprits include milk, formula, and fruit juices. These sugary liquids can collect around the teeth and pool in the cheeks as your baby sleeps, leading to cavities.
Sucking on pacifiers often brings comfort to children well into the first few years of life. However, try to prevent this from becoming a long-term habit, which can interfere with the development of your child’s mouth and jaws.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your baby’s oral health, contact our Quincy, MA office today! We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Dr. Michelle Anderson is a pediatric dentist board certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.