What dental problems could a baby have so young?
Dental problems can begin early so it is crucial to implement habits in your home to prevent these issues. A big concern for infants is nursing or baby bottle tooth decay. Your baby risks decay when he or she nurses from a bottle of milk, formula, or juice during naps or at night.
Another significant concern is gum disease. Mild inflammation of the gum tissue can be a concern for many children. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily, learn to speak clearly, and smile with confidence.
Oral Hygiene Tips For Infants:
- Even before your baby starts to show teeth, it is extremely important to thoroughly clean your infant’s gums after each feeding with a water-soaked washcloth to stimulate the gum tissue and remove food.
- When the baby’s teeth begin to emerge, brush them gently with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Limit thumb and pacifier sucking as much as possible. Most children will stop on their own by age two but prolonged sucking can create bite problems, crooked teeth, or even constriction of the maxilla, the upper jaw. These issues may need to be corrected with braces and headgear later on in life. Continued sucking can also cause “tongue thrust” (also called reverse swallow or immature swallow) which is the common name of orofacial muscular imbalance, a human behavioral pattern in which the tongue protrudes through the anterior incisors during swallowing, speech, and while the tongue is at rest. If not addressed and corrected prior to treatment for bite problems or crooked teeth, tongue thrust may reverse any corrective action that has been taken and you will need to start over with treatment.
- At age two or three, you can start to demonstrate proper brushing techniques for your child, but remember, you will need to continue to follow up with brushing and gentle flossing until age seven or eight, when the child has the expertise to do it alone.
Demonstrating healthy habits is the secret…Lead by example!
Have you ever heard the saying “the greatest form of flattery is imitation”? Our kids are the most amazing sponges! They are hardwired to copy and imitate our habits (even our not so great habits!)
So, the basic truth of it is: we have to model healthy habits for our kids. Modeling healthy oral hygiene habits requires that we care for our own health in front of and with our kids, rather than putting it off until they are in bed.
Show your kids, from a young age, that you care about their oral health and hygiene by making it a priority to work as a team. Make healthy meals together, eat together, then brush and floss together!
Make an appointment today with one of our locations in Idaho Falls, Rexburg or Arco! One of our professional oral hygienists will check for cavities in the primary teeth and watch for developmental problems. We’re absolutely sure that your child’s first infant dental care experience will be a very positive experience for both you and your child.