Your Baby's First Dental Appointment
When your child’s teeth begin to erupt, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist for your child’s first “well-baby” appointment. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to provide dental care for infants and young children to ensure that they remain healthy and develop correctly. This includes giving your baby a knee-to-knee examination, in which you and the pediatric dentist will sit facing each other with your knees touching. Your baby will be sitting in your lap facing you with their legs wrapped around your waist. Their head is then gently laid back into the lap of the pediatric dentist. This allows your baby to stay comfortable and secure in your lap while our dentist and team examine their mouth. We can usually complete this examination very quickly and will take all measures to keep your child as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
How to Care for Your Baby's Teeth at Home
Prevention is the cornerstone of current medical practices, and oral health is no exception. It is recommended that parents should establish a dental home for their child by their first birthday or with eruption of their first tooth.
All infants should have a daily oral cleaning. Using a soft, damp cloth, gently wipe your baby’s gums to remove any lingering formula or milk and prevent bacteria buildup.
Teeth begin to erupt through the gumline at about 6 months of age and continue to gradually appear until about age 3. As soon as teeth begin to emerge from the gums, you should begin using a soft-bristle baby toothbrush to clean your infant’s teeth. Use a tiny smear of fluoridated toothpaste for children under the age of 2. After age 2, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to clean their teeth. You should clean your child’s teeth at least twice a day. We recommend that you brush and floss your child’s teeth for them until about age 7, when their motor skills will have developed enough for them to brush on their own.
As your child develops teeth, you should avoid giving them a bottle filled with juice or other sweetened liquids when they go to bed. If your child insists on having a bottle, fill it only with water. This will help to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Your baby’s mouth may also become sore while teething. You can help them feel more comfortable by providing a chilled, but not frozen, teething ring and gently wiping their gums with a cold washcloth before and after meals.