Baby’s Oral Health Tips

Oral health care should start long before your little one’s tooth pops up. TheacademyofGeneral Dentistryrecommends that babies never go to sleep with a bottle. Milk, juice or other sweetened liquids can cause decay especially because saliva stops flowing through the mouth during sleep stages. If a bottle is a nessesity—just use water.

Another suggestion is to gently wipe your baby’s gums with a wet, clean, soft cloth. This habit should be developed before the teeth even erupt. By the way, did you know that some baby’s teeth come as early as 3 months? Most first teeth come at about 6 months, but the latest arrivals are around 15 months. When they do come, you can use a flexible children’s toothbrush and a tiny, tiny bit of fluoridated toothpaste. When the child reaches 2, then you can use a pea sized amount.

As a rule of thumb, the first dental visit should be when the first tooth comes or when they turn 1—which ever happens first. The dentist will advise you on any concerns; such as, thumb sucking or trouble brushing their teeth. Regular appointments are essential to your child’s oral health, so be sure to make appointments.

Your Child’s First Dental Visit At Designing Smiles

  • Perform a screening examination of your child’s mouth
  • Determine fluoride needs
  • Assess transmission of cavity causing bacteria (Streptococcus mutans)
  • Evaluate diet
  • Review risk factors
  • Teach proper home care of your child’s teeth
  • Provide guidance for injury prevention
  • Preform preventative, interceptive, or restorative services, or refer child to a specialist


The Following Are Risk Factors For Dental Cavities In Infants/Children:

  • Maternal illness during pregnancy
  • Poor prenatal nutrition
  • Poor feeding habits:  use of baby bottles to help put a child to sleep, soft drinks and fruit juice for snacks, continuous use of sippy cups
  • Shape of the teeth, including cusp and groove anatomy
  • Poor care of teeth and mouth


How To Prevent Cavities:

  •   Limit high sugar snacks
  • Rinse with water after eating when it is not possible to brush and floss
  • After brushing, there is more visible plaque on the teeth of children who brush alone compared to those children whose teeth are cleaned by the parents.  For that reason, it has been recommended that parents brush their children’s teeth until the child is 7 to 9 years of age
  • The use of topical fluoride products (toothpastes, gels, and rinses with fluoride) at home and professionally will significantly reduce cavities
  • Visit the dentist for cleaning and examination as often as recommended
  • The pits and fissures of the teeth are the most common place for cavities in children.  The pits and fissures can be protected by sealants.   This limits the depths of the fissures, to eliminate potential traps for cavity causing bacteria.

PS–do not tell your bad dental experiences to your kids– it will traumatize them. I thought that was a no brain-er, but since working at a dental office, I’ve had to cut off a few parents mid sentence.