Information For Infants & Toddlers

When you choose Seaside Children’s Dentistry to care for your child’s smile, you choose a team unlike any other! We are dedicated to not only serving our patients with top-quality dental care but also educating patients and parents about best practices for reaching their best oral health. This all begins with your infant or toddler’s teeth and gum care!

Below, we have provided a guide on how to best care for your little one’s smiles as they grow. That way, you will be prepared to support their smile journey and keep them healthy throughout their development. If you have any questions, please call our office today!

Caring for Your Child’s Gums

The best care for your baby’s mouth starts even before their first tooth appears. Taking care of their gums now can benefit their smile in the future. Clean your baby’s gums after feeding with a damp cloth or piece of gauze. This will allow you to keep their gums healthy and establish a routine to help them maintain their oral health.

Your Baby’s First Tooth

When your baby’s first tooth appears, you’ll need to upgrade to a baby toothbrush. You can usually choose between two types of toothbrushes: one that has a long handle, so you can hold it with your baby, or a tiny one that fits over your index finger.

These two brushes feature extra-soft bristles specifically designed for your baby’s teeth and gums. For now, it’s not necessary to use toothpaste in your baby’s oral hygiene routine; instead, dip the toothbrush in warm water before brushing.

Being patient is the key if your child is not receptive to a toothbrush. For a few months, use a damp washcloth before trying a toothbrush again. To prepare your child for using a toothbrush, you may want to consider purchasing a children’s toothbrush that comes with a teether. This can get them more comfortable with the brush and help them become comfortable with it.

Brushing with Toothpaste

You can use toothpaste with your child’s brush as the child’s teeth grow and more teeth emerge. Make sure to choose toothpaste without fluoride for the first two years, unless we suggest otherwise. Fluoride can be harmful to young children in excess amounts, especially if swallowed.

At this point, use only a tiny amount of toothpaste on your infant’s teeth. In addition, encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste after brushing, as this will prepare them for fluoride toothpaste, which cannot be swallowed.

Avoiding Cavities

Having your baby drink sugary carbonated drinks, such as sodas, is never recommended. Sugars are also found in fruit juice, formula, and milk (including breast milk) that could contribute to decay.

To prevent cavities, it is crucial that your child’s teeth and gums are cleaned and brushed regularly. Also, you should never let your baby sleep with a bottle. Prolonged exposure to sugary liquids on your baby’s teeth can lead to early childhood tooth decay, also known as “baby bottle caries.”

First Visit to the Dentist

Our office recommends that you bring your child within six months of their first tooth erupting. Our team will look for any early signs of decay or other problems with your child’s oral health during this visit. By doing this, your child will have the best chance of avoiding cavities and keeping their teeth and gums healthy.

Infant Oral Health & Setting a Good Example

In order to learn and grow, children love to watch and explore the world around them, always seeking to mimic the actions and behaviors of others. You can use this to your advantage when teaching your child about dentistry.

Your child will love to watch you brush and floss; tell them how exciting it is! Don’t forget to mention to them the importance and benefits of oral health. Encourage them to brush too, and demonstrate the proper technique while you do so.

Most children are unable to properly brush their own teeth until they are between the ages of six and eight, so you will have to help them and make sure their teeth are thoroughly cleaned. You can make the oral hygiene routine fun with one (or a combination of) the following options:

  • Buy flavored toothpaste
  • Let your child choose their own toothbrush
  • Purchase a kid’s book to read about brushing and flossing
  • Show progress by using a fun brushing chart with stickers

What Is Normal Thumb-Sucking Behavior?

Up until the age of four, thumb sucking is considered normal in most children. It creates a feeling of comfort and security. Children typically grow out of thumb sucking, but some may become attached to it and find it difficult to give it up.

By providing encouragement and support, you can assist your child in stopping thumb sucking and replacing the behavior with a healthier alternative.

How Can I Help My Child Quit Thumb-Sucking?

  • You should encourage your child to break their habit instead of reprimanding or punishing them.
  • Praise them when they do not suck their thumbs.
  • Whenever they appear to be putting their thumb in their mouth, gently remind them not to do so.
  • Play with toys, dance, bake, and try new arts and crafts activities to keep their hands busy.

No matter what method you use, remember that your child needs your unconditional support and understanding when it comes to stopping thumbsucking.

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