At Home with Baby

Basics of Baby Teeth and Teething

Many people are not aware that prevention of dental diseases can be started as soon as a child is born. From the seventh to the ninth (last) months of pregnancy, the primary baby teeth are just about to be fully formed in the bone. Development of permanent teeth begins at birth.

Even before the teeth show, it is possible, and in fact recommended, that an infant’s mouth to be cleaned. Lightly dab the gum pads in a baby’s mouth with a clean damp, soft cloth. This will decrease the germs that form in the mouth, and begin the healthy practice of dental care.

An infant is also recommended to have a dental check-up in as early as 12 months of age. Pediatric dentists suggest that a baby’s first dental visit should be before all 20 primary teeth have completely erupted. This first visit is for a complete exam and evaluation. It is also for parents to be educated with proper dental care for infants at home, and the recommended diet proper use of toothbrushes and fluoride for infants.

Once the teething starts and first tooth erupts, which occurs about as early as six months, others follow until all 20 baby teeth are in. During teething, a lot of babies experience discomfort that is seen when they become irritable, drool a lot, suck on their toys, blankets, or fingers, and lose their appetite. When a baby gets a fever, diarrhea, or flu-like symptoms, it is best to consult a pediatrician. Hard, cool teething toys and frequent drinks of water can ease the teething discomfort.

Below is a list to remember after the teeth erupt.

– Do not let sweet or sweetened liquids to stay in a baby’s mouth for a long time. These lead to early dental decay.

– During feedings, always hold the baby and the bottle. Not only it could choke the infant, the milk or juice can bring cavities while in contact with the new teeth. When the baby falls asleep during feeding, remove bottle from his/her mouth. If a bottle is needed to get the baby to sleep, fill it will water instead of milk or juice.

– Do limit the use of sippy cups. The use of those can lead to cavities and other dental problems such as misalignment of teeth.

– Start a healthy eating habit by regulating intake of sweetened beverages and food. Do not spoil your baby with sweets, because it will eventually lead to dental problems with his or her primary teeth.

– Educate yourself with fluoride supplements for babies. This will help make your baby’s teeth stronger and prevent tooth decay without using a normal adult’s toothpaste.

– When a baby is learning to walk, or can walk already, do not let the child walk with a bottle or sippy cup in his/her mouth. Be watchful to dental injuries.

When a baby grows with proper dental care, the routine will become his/her practice until he/she grows old. It will be a healthy habit that will help create a positive self-image.