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Infant Oral Care

Developing healthy dental hygiene habits helps protect your child’s teeth
throughout their entire lives, so getting started early is essential. 

Developing healthy dental hygiene habits helps protect your child’s teeth throughout their entire lives, so getting started early is essential. 

A lifetime of good oral health begins during the first stages of life even before the first teeth emerge. Parents who are well-educated in children’s dental health can more adequately ensure that a child’s oral care needs are met. From an early age, pediatric dentists serve as partners in oral health and prevention, answering questions and providing helpful information about teething and at-home oral care.

Did you know…

that 2 in 5 children have at least one cavity by the time they go to kindergarten? In fact, tooth decay in children, technically classified as early childhood caries, can appear shortly after the first tooth appears if conditions allow. Once a baby has developed tooth decay, they are more likely to develop additional cavities over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I take care of my baby’s teeth and gums at home?

Infants do not have teeth to brush or floss. However, they do have gums that should be cleansed gently with a damp cloth each day. Reducing buildup of food and bacterial debris helps create a healthy neighborhood for new teeth to move into. Not only that, it readies your child into the routine of dental hygiene. Once the first tooth emerges, an age-appropriately-sized toothbrush with a small smear of fluoride toothpaste can be used to carefully brush and prevent the build-up of plaque.

Should I bring my infant to the dentist?

Yes. Early visits to the dentist are highly informational and supportive, especially for new parents. Children should visit the dentist for the first time within six months of getting a first tooth or no later than age one. At Southern Smiles we specialize in treating children and adolescents. Keep in mind that the initial dental visits for babies and toddlers are primarily educational, but have significant long-term impact on your child’s oral health.

Is there anything I can do to prevent early childhood tooth decay?

In addition to cleaning your infant’s teeth and gums, you can help prevent tooth decay by ensuring your child is exposed to an appropriate amount of fluoride – whether in your local water source, via fluoridated toothpaste or by way of professional fluoride treatments. In addition, do not allow your child to go to bed with a bottle, as doing so can lead to a condition known as “baby bottle decay.”

Don’t baby teeth fall out?

Yes…but not immediately! Children will keep their front baby teeth until ages 5-8 years, and their baby canines and molars don’t fall out until ages 9-12 years. Not only that, the first adult teeth appear between ages 5-7 years. Untreated tooth decay in baby teeth can snowball into pain, infection, facial swellings, and increase the risk for adult teeth to experience cavities. Our goal isn’t just to focus on your child during the time they spend in our office, but also to set them up for a childhood and lifetime of excellent oral health.

What type of toothpaste should I use for my kid?

Children as young as infants are eligible to use fluoride toothpaste, but it’s all about the dose! “Training toothpaste” and fluoride-free toothpastes can substitute, but are not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. For children age 0-3 years, the size of a grain of rice of fluoride toothpaste placed onto the toothbrush is appropriate. Once your child can reliably spit out toothpaste after brushing (usually ages 3-4 years), you can increase the amount to the size of a pea. The dose of fluoride in these recommended amounts doesn’t come anywhere close to putting your child at risk for complications associated with excessive fluoride exposure, and the benefits of preventing tooth decay (and preventing more visits to the dentist) are vast!

A place where your smile can call home!

promoting healthy, happy smiles

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You can call Southern Smiles your home for dental health and can confide in us as both partners and teammates.


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