Children’s oral health can be monitored from their infancy stage. Normally, babies will start developing their first set of teeth at around 6 months of age. This is a good time to introduce them to the family dentist, preferably a pediatric dentist. The essence of such an early visit is to avoid tooth decay.
However, you may not wait around until your baby is 6 months old before practicing oral care habits with him or her. After each meal, you can clean your baby’s gum and tongue to avoid early oral disease in your infant.
It is best to start an early oral health checkup no matter how young your child is, but you can schedule the first dental visit at around months 6-8. Infant oral health checkup is important in the following ages:
Age 0-6 Months
From the first month after the birth of your child, it is necessary to begin oral care after you feed him or her. Whether your child is feeding on the bottle or mother’s milk, the tongue and gum can accumulate leftover milk, and it must be wiped off to prevent future dental problems.
The objective of carrying out this practice is to restrict potential oral health problems like tooth cavities or decay, which are common in kids. At this age, your baby may not be ready to meet the dentist, but you can help him or her prepare for it by caring for their mouth using these tips:
You can carry out this practice from time to time, and you must be careful not to hurt the gum, as it may be sensitive until about four to six months when your baby can sprout the first tooth. If you notice your child has swollen or reddish gum, offer a chilled teething ring. The cold substance can ease the discomfort.
Your baby oral items must be clean always, and no other family member should share these items. You should not even use your mouth to test the bottle’s temperature. Since oral problems are transmittable, your baby’s pacifier, spoons, and teething rings can be infected if another person uses them.
These items are strictly for your baby’s use. Store them neatly. Wash with warm water always before putting them in the baby’s mouth. If you are dedicated to these practices, your baby can grow up with less cavity risk.
Age 6-12 months
At this age, you can take the first dental trip with your baby. Your baby can develop more than one tooth around 6 months of age and a lot more before 8 months. During the visit, the dentist can begin to monitor your infant’s tooth through the following ways:
Taking Down Infant And Maternal Dental History
The dentist will have to find out about how well the child’s mother has maintained a good oral habit, what she knows about a good oral health practice and the consequence of a poor oral habit. The doctor will also ask important questions to look into the pregnancy and delivery details of the child’s mother.
These questions can help in recording the infant’s overall health, complications during birth, immunization status, some medications, and even allergies. After the dentist has accessed the demographics of both mother and child, he or she can carry out an oral checkup on the child.
First Professional Oral Examination
The dentist will give your baby a thorough oral assessment to check if the teeth are developing properly in the mouth. The dentist also checks for intra-oral gums and teeth, signs of gingivitis, dental plaque on the newly formed tooth, white spot injuries, and signs of dental trauma.
During the checkup, you can comfortably hold your baby to prevent him or her from crying. After a checkup, if the dentist observes any potential risk of decay or other oral problems, the next step is to offer counseling measures.
Your child’s dentist can recommend tips you should be committed to preventing your baby from having tooth decay. It could be oral hygiene tips, introduction to fluoride, change of diets, and protection against injuries.
The dentist will encourage you to care more for your child’s oral health by maintaining daily cleaning practices. If your baby is 8-12 months old, you can add a pea-size fluoride toothpaste on a brush with soft bristles before brushing the teeth. Pediatric fluoride treatment can also help prevent cavities. However, you can allow your baby to have fluoridated water once in a while.
Now that your baby is old enough to explore new food options, you should be careful with sugary treats as they are bad for infants and young children. If your baby is still sucking the bottle, take it off the mouth before it is bedtime as it can lead to tooth decay.
Your baby can have accidents at home the moment he or she begins to take some steps around the house. Some of these accidents can lead to injury in the teeth. This type of injury can become serious as the child gets older.
Therefore, you should look after your child more and if there is a dental injury due to a bad fall, contact a dental pediatric emergency clinic near you to solve the problem at its early stage.
Infant oral health examination helps in establishing a long-lasting oral health benefit in your child’s life. An oral care checkup is often wide-ranged, and your child can be saved from potential cavity problems, and be examined for teeth and gum tissue growths as well as periodontal signs.
The age that is best to take your child to visit a pediatric dentist is around the teeth-sprouting month. However, you should not stop there; you should take your child for more pediatric dental visits every six months.