Caring for My Baby’s Oral Health by Dr. Gabrielle Caron

02/26/2019

Being a new mom is exciting and scary all at the same time. There is a lot of information coming at you fast! Children need strong teeth to eat new foods and to speak when forming their first words. These primary teeth also ensure adult teeth come in correctly. As a dentist and a mom, here are some tips I recommend for your new bundle and their oral care. new baby care

When Does Oral Care Begin
When that first precious tooth erupts, it is important to take care of it! Here are a few methods for early care: Use a fingertip toothbrush found in the dental care aisle or a wet washcloth after their last feeding before bedtime. Baby teeth are very important, and some children will still have these teeth at 12 years old, so starting good habits at a young age is key!

Some Babies Are Born with Teeth
Did you know that one in every 2,000 babies are born with teeth? They are called natal teeth! If your child is born with natal teeth, please visit a dentist because these teeth may or may not be extra ones, and they need to be evaluated.

Teething Remedies
Teething is a challenging time for babies and parents! Here are some remedies found right in your home.
1. Wet the corner of a clean washcloth and freezing it. Then let your baby gnaw on it.
2. Pour expressed breast milk (or formula) in an ice cube tray and put a pacifier in it - you are making baby popsicles! (Keep an eye on your baby when he/she is gnawing). The pressure and the cold can relieve your baby’s discomfort!

Teething Gels and Creams
We do not recommend oral health products for babies such as Anbesol. Baby Orajel, Cepacol, Chloraseptic, Hurricaine, Orabase, Orajel because of the active ingredient, Benzocaine – a local anesthetic. These products should not be used for teething. It is undetermined the exact amount swallowed, and these products wash out of the baby’s mouth within minutes making the relief temporary. Benzocaine products have the potential to cause a condition called methemoglobinemia, in which the red blood cells oxygen-carrying capacity is reduced.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Your baby’s first teeth are important and susceptible to cavities. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. We do not recommend going to bed with a bottle because of this condition. Milk continues to drip from the bottle nipple and pools behind the teeth. Milk contains sugars and causes the tooth to decay typically from the back of the tooth to the front. Often it is found too late because the teeth look healthy from the front. If you do use a bottle or breastfeed the baby to sleep, just keep a damp washcloth handy and wipe the teeth before laying the baby down (especially the backsides of the teeth).

When Do Teeth Come In, and In What Order order of teeth
This photo shows the typical eruption pattern of teeth, but please know it is variable. If you have concerns, please call us and we can make sure everything looks healthy! Remember some babies will not have any teeth by their first birthday!

How Much Toothpaste Should You Use, if any
Use fluoride toothpaste as soon as new teeth come through the gums. Under a year, I typically just recommend a wet washcloth. Start using a toothbrush with only a smear of toothpaste the size of rice, until they are old enough to know not to suck on the brush. Then, you can progress to a pea size amount.

When to Visit the Dentist
Make an appointment by their first birthday or their first tooth, which ever comes first. It is important to establish a dental home for your children to get them acclimated at a young age. No worries if they cry a little – I don’t mind, and it means their mouth is open and I can see their teeth!