Children of all ages must take proper care of their oral health to foster a lifetime of healthy smiles, but this learning process falls on the shoulders of the parents to provide the right support and guidance at the right time. You know that poor oral hygiene can lead to a lifetime of problems, which is why it is essential to follow the proper steps early on in life. Alligator Dental is dedicated to happy smiles, and our pediatric dentists in Seguin and San Marcos are here to provide a fun and effective experience for your little one!
Every aspect of our family dental care practice works to put your child at ease. From our full arcade to our bubble walls, movie theater, and play areas, kids of all ages can have a good time when they visit the dentist!
Today, we’ll begin to highlight a few oral health needs your child will require as they age. It’s important to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to pediatric dental care. Keep reading to learn more, and be sure to make your appointment with us online!
Dental Care for Newborns (0 – 6 Months)
From the moment your child is born, you want to do everything that you can to ensure their health and happiness. When it comes to oral health, there are a few things you will need to keep an eye on to ensure your little one is off to a good start:
- Wipe the gums — One action many new parents are surprised to learn about is wiping their baby’s gums after feeding. The CDC recommends wiping the gums at least twice a day with a clean, soft washcloth. This can cut down on unwanted bacterial growth.
- Keep an eye on bottle time — Many parents admit to leaving their little ones with a bottle, both for sustenance and for comfort. Our pediatric dentists suggest minimizing bottle time when not feeding, as the bottle can introduce unnecessary bacteria.
- Watch for tooth growth — Most infants will begin teething between four and six months. As the parent, you will be responsible for keeping an eye on things, including excess saliva flow, unexplained irritability, and redness or swelling along the gum line. You can assist your child by providing a cold, wet washcloth, teething toy, or other items that help relieve the pressure.
- Avoid sharing your germs — Many parents are surprised to learn how infectious tooth decay can be. The bacteria present in your mouth may prove to be harmful for your little one, so be sure to avoid transmitting your saliva via shared utensils, checked bottles, and so on.
Babies With New Teeth (6 – 12 Months)
Around this time, your little one will receive their first tooth. It will fall on you as the parent to begin their dental health care, setting the stage for a lifetime of proper oral health. Dental professionals recommend developing brushing habits around this time, as regular care can help to lessen the concerns of tooth decay.
Once your little one’s smile starts to show signs of new teeth, it’s time to get to work:
- Continue cleaning the gums — Regardless of incoming teeth, it is recommended to continue utilizing a clean cloth to wipe down your child’s gums.
- Use a toothbrush — Once the first tooth erupts, it’s important to begin brushing it with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rely on plain water to get the job done (your child will likely swallow the toothpaste until roughly the age of three).
- Deploy tooth-ache devices — Every child goes through the teething process differently. While some hardly notice the discomfort, others suffer from bouts of fever, headache, excessive tiredness, and more. A number of products are available to ease the teething process. Be sure to speak with your pediatrician for advice.
- Start weaning — Between six months and one year of age is the recommended time for parents to introduce real food. Gradually begin to provide water, juice, vegetables, and other products to help your little one acclimate to the changes.
Once children can begin to drink on their own, it’s important for parents to keep an eye on all eating and drinking activities. Be sure to limit the amount of sugary foods and beverages, and do not leave your child with a bottle overnight. Now is also an ideal time to discuss fluoride treatments with your kid’s dentist. Fluoridated water should be enough for now, but some kids may benefit from additional protection.
Need a Dental Appointment?
Next time, we’ll continue this topic by discussing the best approach for older babies and toddlers. If you are ready to schedule your child’s first appointment, feel free to reach out to our pediatric dentists in Seguin and San Marcos. Alligator Dental is here to help make going to the dentist fun, and our pediatric dental specialists strive to help create a lifetime of healthy habits.
Contact us today to learn more, and be sure to schedule your child’s introductory appointment with us!