Welcome to the world of parenting… lets talk DENTAL! Let’s be honest- between sleep deprivation, messy houses, spilt milk, loads of laundry there’s a lot to deal with as a parent! We’re breaking down the science behind a healthy mouth and lifestyle for your little one…

 From Birth to Age 1:

While there are no teeth present you should wipe the gums twice a day or after feeding with a moistened soft towel and massage the gums. No toothbrush or toothpaste required yet! Cold teething rings, infant safe textured chew mitts are soothing as this age. And your totally sleep deprived and you need a good night sleep, right? At this age there’s no harm in a pacifier! Remember to offer sterilized pacifiers to avoid germ transmission.

A not-so fun fact: Gingivitis and its bacteria ARE TRANSMISSIBLE. Best way to avoid passing along your oral bacteria by not sharing utensils or toothbrushes with your child or by cleaning their pacifier in your mouth.

Noticing any swollen or red gums? That can be normal at this age, teething typically starts around 4-6 months. But teeth don’t read the textbook! They come when they’re ready.

Once teeth have erupted, use a silicone bristled finger slip or infant toothbrush twice a day to brush and massage gums. No toothpaste needed yet; plain water will work just fine. Children this young have trouble spitting the toothpaste out and can cause gastrointestinal upset. We’ll talk fluoridated toothpaste in our next blog- stay tuned!

Determining if you live in an area that has fluoridated water is important, simply call your municipality for information.  A lack of fluoride can put your child’s tooth health at risk of not having enough strong nutrients to protect against decay. A fluoride rinse, varnish, or supplements may be recommended if there is no access to fluoride in the water. On the other hand, overuse of fluoride in drinking water (<1.5 ppm) can lead to Fluorosis, a permanent alteration in the formation of the enamel leaving white or brown spots.

Age 12-24 Months:

It’s time to start thinking about visiting the Dentist! The Ontario Dental Association recommends an initial visit 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth. This information appointment gives you all the knowledge and know how to properly care for your child’s teeth and to review development. Visit our website for what a child’s initial visit may look like- click here and scroll down to a Child’s First Visit.

Child’s First Visit https://drbethnixon.com/new-patient-information/

At this point is best to attempt weaning your child off a bottle or pacifier and encourage

drinking from a cup to avoid developmental changes to jaw and rotation or tipping of front teeth. Is it going to be easy weaning from that beloved soother? No… but it will certainly be harder and harder as the toddler gets older. Repeat this with me, “I can do it” “I can do it” A few hard nights and there you have it!

It’s now a good time to discuss fluoridated toothpaste options with the Dentist or Dental Hygienist! Fluoride is completely safe at this age if used appropriately. Before making the switch to this new world, find out more information at the next dental visit.

Remember as teeth start to erupt, if you notice any questionable areas or have questions about oral hygiene care, it is best to see us as early as possible.

We love little ones, and they love us!