Life as a new mom is packed with new information about how to care for an infant, and the overload of information can cause a lot of stress. But, new parents can help their children achieve oral health success by using some of our favorite oral health tips.
Clean Their Gums
Many people think that oral care doesn’t begin until teeth emerge, but that’s not true at all. In fact, parents should clean their baby’s mouth from day one so that their gums can remain healthy. New parents can use an infant toothbrush or a soft cloth soaked in cool, clean water to clean their baby’s gums after nursing. Parents should clean their infant’s gums daily, and after each meal.
See a Pediatric Dentist Before Their First Birthday
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that parents take their infants to the pediatric dentist as soon as their first tooth emerges – which is around the six-month mark. After their first visit, the AAPD suggests parents take their children to the pediatric dentist every 6 months for routine oral health checkups for ongoing preventative care.
Find a dentist near you, using our pediatric dental locator tool.
Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Milk is a vital piece of an infant’s diet, but don’t let your child go to bed with a bottle of milk. That’s because this exposes your bay’s gums and teeth to sugar for an extended period of time, and can lead to tooth decay. If your infant does need to go to bed with a bottle, place water in the bottle instead. The AAPD advises parents to also avoid serving their children juice, soda or sports drinks in a bottle, which is high in sugar and can harm their teeth.
Be Prepared for Teething
From 6 months to age 3, your child may have tender gums due to teething. This is incredibly normal, and parents can help alleviate their child’s pain with a clean teething ring or a clean damp washcloth. You can also use your clean finger to gently massage your child’s gums to help with their discomfort.
Introduce Mouth-Healthy Solid Foods
Around age 6 months, most children are ready to begin eating some solid foods, and you can use this time to introduce them to a mouth-healthy diet. Soft foods like pureed boiled sweet potatoes and avocado are fantastic healthy foods for children beginning a solid diet. Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin-A, and support healthy teeth and gums, and avocados contain high amounts of Vitamin C, which contains folate – a mineral that combats gum disease. Always check with your doctor to make sure your child is ready for solid foods. Check the American Academy of Pediatrics’ tips on introducing your baby to solid food.
Find a Pediatric Dentist Near You
If you don’t have a dental home for your child, then you can use our dental practice locator tool to find a pediatric dentist near you. Having a dental home will help your child grow up with a healthy smile and empower them to care for their teeth as they age. Visit AAP.org or AAPD.org for more information about introducing your children to solid foods.