The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all pregnant women receive oral healthcare and counseling during pregnancy. Research has shown evidence that periodontal disease can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Talk to your doctor or dentist about ways you can prevent periodontal disease during pregnancy. Additionally, mothers with poor oral health may be at a greater risk of passing the bacteria which causes cavities to their young children.
Mother's should follow these simple steps to decrease the risk of spreading cavity-causing bacteria:
Teething, the process of baby (primary) teeth coming through the gums into the mouth, is variable among individual babies. Some babies get their teeth early and some get them late. In general, the first baby teeth to appear are usually the lower front (anterior) teeth and they usually begin erupting between the age of 6-8 months.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA),
and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all recommend establishing a “Dental Home” for your child by one year of age. Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care. The Dental Home is intended to provide a place other than the Emergency Room for parents.
You can make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. If old enough, your child should be informed of the visit and told that the dentist and their staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions. The less to-do concerning the visit, the better.
It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as needle, pull, drill or hurt. Pediatric dental offices make a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.
One serious form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay.
This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids or snacks that contain simple carbohydrates or sugar. Among the liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks, and snacks include candy, frosted cereals, goldfish, crackers etc.
Bacteria turns simple carbohydrates and sugars into acid. The acid stays in your
child's mouth for about half an hour from the last time they ate or drank one of these substances. The acid then eats holes into your child's teeth causing cavities. If your child is eating these snacks, or has milk or juice in a sippy cup all day long it will be acid in their mouth all day long.
Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquids pool around a child’s teeth at night because the child doesn't swallow as often while sleeping; also they have less saliva at night (a natural buffer that reduces the effects of the acid). If you must give the baby a bottle as a comforter at bedtime, it should contain only water. If your child won't fall asleep without the bottle and its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle's contents with water over a period of two to three weeks.
After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place the child’s head in your lap or lay the child on a dressing table or the floor. Whatever position you use, be sure you can see into the child’s mouth easily.
Sippy cups should be used as a training tool from the bottle to a cup and should be discontinued by the first birthday. If your child uses a sippy cup throughout the day, fill the sippy cup with water only (except at mealtimes). By filling the sippy cup with liquids that contain sugar (including milk, fruit juice, sports drinks, etc.) and allowing a child to drink from it throughout the day, it soaks the child’s teeth in sugar that the bacteria use to cause decay.