While most babies don’t start getting teeth until they are around six months old, infant dental care is important from the very beginning. Many dentists recommend an initial visit before the child’s first birthday to make sure teeth and gums are cared for and cleaned properly.
It is a good idea to get in the habit of cleaning your baby’s gums soon after birth. 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.
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. However, it has not been shown to cause any other childhood symptoms.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay — also called “early childhood dental caries” — is one of the most important issues in infant tooth care. This condition is caused by frequent exposure, over time, to sugary liquids, which can seriously damage a baby’s teeth and overall oral health.
Dummies and Thumb / Finger Sucking
Sucking is a normal part of development that is comforting to children well into their first years of life. In fact, sucking 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 of a dummy, finger or thumb can cause problems. This is especially true if the habit continues after baby teeth start to fall out.