One of the questions that new parents often face is how soon to take their child to the dentist. Here is some advice for new babies and expectant mothers.
Approximately ½ of all of the pregnant women will develop gingivitis or swelling of the gums during their pregnancy. Usually this starts during the 2nd month of the pregnancy and peaks in the 8th month. Although it normally tapers off after the baby is born, it shouldn’t be ignored since oral bacteria can impact the baby.
Symptoms of gum disease include tenderness when touching the gums that are shiny or puffy in appearance, bleeding when flossing or brushing, and mouth sores. If you experience any of these symptoms you need to see your dentist.
You need to make sure your diet has sufficient vitamins and calcium and vitamins in it to help develop your baby’s teeth.
Begin caring for your baby’s gums as soon as the baby arrives by wiping them with a soft, clean washcloth following each feeding. Continue this when the first teeth appear.
Obviously, milk and formula are good for baby, however, they do contain sugar that can result in tooth decay if allowed to sit on the teeth for a long time. Cleaning with an infant toothbrush or a washcloth will remove foods and sugary liquids that can result in tooth decay and will help your baby to get used to having his/her mouth checked and cleaned. The first dental visit for the baby should be around the baby’s first birthday.
In about 1/3 of all adults in the US, tooth decay goes untreated. However, it can easily be prevented. Although decay normally appears as black or brown spots on the teeth, chalky lines along the gum line can also be an indicator.
In order to help prevent tooth decay, a person needs to eat a balanced diet and limit their intake of sugary foods. Don’t sip on sugary beverages such as soda, sports drinks, and sweet tea all day.
The acid and sugar in sports drinks, juices, and soft drinks may set up an environment that is perfect for tooth decay. When the kids are on summer vacation it is the perfect opportunity to influence what they drink and eat.
It is important that proper oral hygiene begins at birth. Before the baby’s teeth erupt clean the baby’s gums with a damp washcloth. After the teeth start to appear, clean with an age appropriate soft toothbrush and water. After the child is capable of spitting, have the child use a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
Parents who have poor oral health can pass bacteria from their own saliva to their babies through some of the same kinds of activities that can pass on a cold such as sharing eating utensils. Their most vulnerable time for infection is between 6 and 31 months. Therefore an important part of taking care of a baby’s teeth is to take care of your own.