Welcoming a Baby? What Every New Parent Should Know About Dental Health During the First Year of Life

Posted on: 17 January 2017

With a whirlwind of preparations to make before the birth of a new baby, many parents give little thought to what their child's dental health needs will be during infancy. Since their infant's teeth will not be expected to erupt for several months, many may believe that they can safely put off the question of oral health until that time. But even a child who does not yet have visible teeth can benefit from basic dental-care routines beginning at birth. If you are a new parent or are about to become one, the following information can help you get your child's dental health off to a great start. 

Take care of baby's gums

It is never too early to begin teaching your child the basic routines that will help them to enjoy the best possible dental health throughout their lives. To do this, parents can begin at birth to gently clean and massage their baby's gums after each feeding with a small square of sterile gauze wrapped around the end of their finger. Gently insert the gauze-covered fingertip into your infant's mount, wiping away pooled milk as you gently massage their gums. By your doing this ritual before the teeth erupt, your baby will be able to more easily accept the use of a soft toothbrush, and the massaging motion may even help to make the teething process more comfortable for your child.

Avoid feeding habits that can endanger dental health

Another way in which parents can help to ensure their child will enjoy good dental health is to make sure to avoid any feeding habits that may cause dental issues for their child later. One such habit to avoid is putting your child to bed with a bottle of sugary fruit juice, pop, or even formula because it can pool in the mouth after they fall asleep and damage tooth enamel once the teeth begin to erupt. Instead, choose to hold your child during a feeding, and always take a moment after they have eaten to wipe their gums to remove leftover liquids from the feeding. 

Consult your child's pediatric dentist if in doubt

While most children will not need to see a pediatric dentist until about the age of one year, parents who have concerns about their child's dental health should feel free to take their child in for a checkup before their first birthday. A pediatric dentist such as one at New England Dental Specialists of Norwood can check your infant's mouth for abnormalities that may need to be addressed as well as offer you additional information to help your child enjoy the best possible dental health.