Early Infant Dental Care

When should I take my child to the dentist for their first dental exam?

In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday. (www.aapd.org)

How often should my child see the dentist?

A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.  (www.aapd.org)

When should I start cleaning my child’s teeth? Is it ok using toothpaste on my child and what kind should I use?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s tooth brushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.  Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.  If your child is unable to spit the toothpaste, wipe it off with a small towel or gauze. (www.aapd.org)

Can nursing cause decay? If so, how can I prevent it?

Nursing can cause decay. Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday. (www.aapd.org)

What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?

You can clean his/her teeth with water and a washcloth, a finger toothbrush or a child’s toothbrush with soft bristles. Either one of these options will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.

Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits bad for my child’s teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, talk to your pediatric dentist to look at different options to address the habit. (www.aapd.org)