Infants & Toddlers Dental Care
Practicing good oral hygiene at an early age with your children nurtures lifelong dental care. When baby’s teeth start to erupt, ensure to wipe the gums with a clean, moist swab or cloth on a gradual basis until you can progress to brushing their milk teeth with a child-size toothbrush.
The first dental visit should take place within six months after the first tooth appears, no later than a child’s first birthday.
During your baby’s first year, there are a few conditions to be aware of, including:
”Between 3 and 9 months, your infant’s baby teeth will begin to emerge (erupt) into the mouth. Teething may make your child irritable or fussy and may cause restlessness, drooling or loss of appetite.”
While most babies don’t start getting teeth until they are six months old, infant dental care is important from the very beginning. The teething process has proven to be taxing to both babies and their caregivers, as the process causes ranging levels of discomfort, pain and irritation, which elevate stress levels.
Some classic teething signs are:
- Excessive drooling;
- Chewing on objects;
- Irritability or crankiness;
- Sore or tender gums;
- Slight increase in temperature — but no fever.
Many parents suspect that teething causes fever and diarrhoea, but researchers say these symptoms aren’t indications of teething.
There are several natural relief remedies every parent can use to soothe their babies through teething.
Some of these remedies include:
- Rub your baby’s gums.
- Use a clean finger or wet gauze to rub your baby’s gums. The pressure can ease your baby’s discomfort.
- Keep it cool.
- A cold spoon or chilled — not frozen — teething ring can be soothing on a baby’s gums. To avoid cavities, do not dip these items in sugary substances.
- Try an over-the-counter remedy.
- If your baby is especially cranky, consider giving him or her infants’ or children’s over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others).
Other methods include cold to frozen soft treats for babies to suck and gnaw on, enduring babies bites and persisting with breastfeeding, sips of Chamomile Tea, small teething rings and necklaces for babies to chew on when bothered.
Once symptoms have calmed down, many dentists recommend the first visit before your babies’ first birthday to check and make sure teeth and gums are in good condition. Although there may be a little fussing at first, your infant will get used to having the mouth cleaned like other parts of the body. Many children grow to enjoy tooth brushing as part of their daily routine.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay — also called “early childhood dental caries” — is an unwanted issue in infant tooth care as it signals bad nutrition, inconsistent bottle sterilisation and unhygienic dental habits. This condition is primarily caused by frequent exposure to sugary liquids, which can seriously damage a baby’s teeth and overall oral health.
A pacifier is known to soothe and relax a disgruntled baby. In fact, sucking a pacifier often brings comfort even after a child no longer needs to get nourishment from a breast or bottle. During a child’s first few years, sucking habits probably won’t damage his or her mouth. But frequent and long-term sucking can cause jaw and palate problems. This is especially true if the habit continues after the milk teeth start to fall out.
Thumb-sucking is a natural reflex for little ones — babies even do it in the womb as it is soothing. Many kids stop on their own around ages 2 to 4.
Thumb-sucking is certainly nothing to worry about with infants and might even help them fall asleep more quickly. Problems can arise when kids do a lot of active sucking, especially when their permanent teeth start coming in. Your dentist can offer advice on how to monitor the situation.
Affinity Dental understands that happy babies make parents happy. That is why the Affinity Dental Silver Plan offers basic dentistry cover for a Full Mouth Examination or Scale and Polish, 2 Intraoral Radiographs, Unlimited Emergency Examination, Infection Control, 3 extractions per member, per year, 3 Fillings per member, per year, and R640 Specialist Dentistry cover per policy, per year.