Early Infant and Child Oral Care 2018-01-04T22:01:32+00:00

Early Infant and Child Oral Care

Oral care in early infancy and childhood is essential right from the start – even during pregnancy! The sooner your child begins regular dental checkups, the healthier their mouth will be throughout the remainder of their life.

Tooth decay and cavities can be prevented with early checkups, which means that the pain and other medical issues associated with these can also be avoided. Children with healthy teeth can smile with more confidence, speak more clearly, and chew food more easily.

Perinatal Oral Health

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends all pregnant women receive information regarding oral health care during their pregnancy. The risk of preterm birth and low birth weight can be increased by periodontal disease, so it’s crucial that you talk to your dentist about periodontal disease prevention if you are pregnant.

You may not be aware of this, but when a pregnant woman has poor oral health, they can pass on the bacteria that causes cavities to their babies. Therefore, it’s important that during your pregnancy you regularly visit your dentist, and reduce plaque by brushing and flossing your teeth after every meal.

Establishing a Dental Home for Your Child

As recommended by the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should establish a dental home for your child by their first birthday. Preventable conditions which lead to more significant oral problems can be more easily prevented in children with stable and regular access to dental care.

Before their first visit, talk to your child about the dentist, but don’t over complicate things. Also avoid using words such as “shot”, “hurt”, “needle”, or “drill”. Our team is trained in using non-threatening terms that will explain what is going to happen without increasing a child’s fear. We will always explain things to your child in a pleasant manner, so they feel as comfortable as possible.

Pacifier Use and Thumb Sucking

Sucking is a natural reflex amongst children and infants, even though children commonly stop sucking on pacifiers, thumbs, or other objects around age three. There are some children that keep the habit of sucking a pacifier or their thumbs, and in these cases, the upper front teeth may not grow in properly or point towards the lip.

The severity of the dental issues will be determined by the intensity of the sucking; more severe issues are associated with more intense sucking, rather than just resting the pacifier or thumb in their mouths.

Children can be coaxed to break this habit by their parents being encouraging and positive, praising them for not sucking their thumb or using a pacifier in situations when they usually would. If you have tried these methods and they are not working, try wrapping a gauze or bandage around the thumb, which will make your child aware that they are sucking their thumb. We can also help explain to them what will happen if they don’t break the habit.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Your children’s primary or baby teeth are at risk of decay as soon as they appear. When this happens in toddlers and infants, it is commonly called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. It mostly affects the front upper teeth, although other teeth may also be affected. The cause of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is long and frequent exposure to sugary liquids such as juice, soda, or other sweetened drinks, or formula, milk, or breast milk.

You can lower the risk of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay in your child by gently wiping their gums and teeth with a wet, clean washcloth or gauze after you’ve fed them. Milk or formula should only be placed in bottles, and avoid feeding your baby soft drinks, juice, or sugar water.

If your child requires a pacifier, give them one that is clean, and you should never place it in your mouth before giving it to them, or dip it in honey or sugar. Children should be encouraged to drink from a cup before they turn a year old, and discourage prolonged or frequent use of a sippy cup.

When your child’s teeth have started to grow, gently brush them with water and a child’s size toothbrush. This action will help remove bits of food that can damage erupting teeth, as well as remove plaque.

You should be vigilant of your child’s oral health techniques and be with them while they brush their teeth until they’re around six years old. You should also endorse your child to eat healthily, and foster a good relationship with nutritious food, giving them plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Make An Appointment

The benefits of proper orthodontic treatment and care go far beyond a more pleasing appearance; they include teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime and a healthier mouth. If you’re interested in undergoing orthodontic care, contact Cochran Orthodontics today to schedule your appointment.