Whether you just had your first child or you’re making a lovely addition to an already very busy family, it’s never uncommon for questions to arise from parents, whether they’re new to being parents, or seasoned pros — hardened in the battlefield of bottles and late-night diaper duty.
More often than not, the most common questions parents ask about new babies pertain to the odd rash, stomach ache, fever, and a litany of other issues ranging from how long it’s normal for a baby to cry to how a baby should be sleeping at night.
Unfortunately, few of the questions asked about newborn health tend to be about a newborn’s teeth. We don’t particularly blame parents for this. After-all, a newborn doesn’t have teeth. With that said, it’s easy to let oral health fly under the radar.
However, even though your baby doesn’t have teeth, it’s important to find your newborn family dentist nearby, especially if you can find a dentist that specializes in pediatric care. One of the best reasons? An oral health risk assessment
Your Baby’s First Dentist Appointment (by 6 months of age)
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, performing an oral health risk assessment is incredibly important for infants. Put simply: this visit allows your dentist to spot the potential for any problems that could arise in the future. It assesses your baby’s risk for conditions relating to the hard and soft tissues of the mouth, as well as the potential risk for dental caries, and make suggestions for your baby’s fluoride needs.
Why baby teeth are Important
Parents occasionally believe that their baby’s teeth aren’t incredibly important because they’re just (eventually) replaced with adult teeth. This is one of the first misconceptions a good family dentist will squash right away. Your baby’s first teeth are important for the development of healthy adult teeth by helping to properly space permanent teeth, while also aiding the development of speech and the ability to chew.
How to Brush a Baby’s Teeth
Even if your baby is “all gums” it’s still important to gently brush, it’s still important to brush very gently with a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste. If teeth have not yet come-in, a warm and damp washcloth will do. If possible, this should be done twice a day. The overarching goal: clean out the bacteria. Gently doing whatever you can to clean the bacteria out of your baby’s mouth is the name of the game.
Helpful Tip for Better Teeth: Follow Meals with Water (and bottle feeding before bed)
Many parents don’t realize that simply following every infant’s meal with water is a sure-fire way to reduce the risk for gingivitis and decay. By preventing gingivitis and decay early on, your baby’s teeth get an oral-health head start that can impact his or her smile for years and years to come.
On top of this, it’s important to remember that bottle-feeding anything but water before bed means that the bacteria from that food will continue to live in your child’s mouth all night – which can contribute to decay and gingivitis.