Infant and Early Oral Health
“First visit by first birthday” is the recommended guideline of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Our goal is to establish a dental home for you and your baby. Your baby should have their first dental visit when the first eight front teeth erupt, or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. As a parent you have the opportunity to help your baby achieve optimum oral health. As partners we can work toward your child’s best health and development. Your early efforts are important to ensure a healthy future.
Why so early? The most important reason for this visit is to begin a thorough prevention program. Dental problems can begin early. A big concern is Early Childhood Caries (formerly known as baby bottle or nursing decay). Once a child’s diet includes anything besides breast-milk, erupted teeth are at risk for decay. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily and smile with confidence. Start your child now on a lifetime of good dental habits.
When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth? The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as teeth begin to appear start brushing twice daily. Use a “whisper” of fluoridated toothpaste and a soft toothbrush for children under 2. For the 2-5 year old, use less than a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and brush for them. Remember that young children do not have the ability to remove harmful plaque effectively.