Do babies need dental care? When should a toddler first go to the dentist? Being a parent and worrying about your child is a full-time job! As your Indianapolis family dentist, it's our job to give you preventive dental care reminders about how to care for your child's developing teeth and gums. Below are some tips on good oral care for your child from the American Dental Association, plus the scoop on thumbsucking and teething. You might want to post these on your refrigerator or in a handy place so your family and babysitters can also see them.
- Never allow a baby or toddler to fall asleep with a bottle that contains milk, formula, fruit juices, sweetened liquids or a pacifier dipped in sugar or honey. Even diluted sweet drinks can be damaging.
- Infants should finish their bedtime or naptime bottle (or breastfeeding) before going to bed.
- Wipe the baby's gums with a wet gauze pad or with a washcloth or towel after each feeding.
- Begin brushing your child's teeth with water as soon as the first tooth appears.
- To reduce the chances of tooth decay, children should be encouraged to drink from a cup by their first birthday.
- Your child's first dental visit should occur within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the baby's first birthday.
- Aggressive thumbsucking may cause problems with children's primary (baby) teeth, so please mention to me on your next visit if your child has this habit. Dr. Reese can check his or her mouth for any changes and give you techniques to help curb thumbsucking.
- As baby teeth erupt, your child may become fussy, sleepless or irritable. One way to comfort your baby is to gently massage the gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a clean, wet gauze pad, washcloth or towel.
As always, we are here to answer your oral health questions, so please feel free to call our office at 317-882-0228 to schedule your first "well-baby" dental check-up. We are located just north of Greenwood, Indiana in Southport on US 31.