Infants are not miniature adults with dental and health issues just like those of their parents (albeit smaller). In fact, infants experience dental development that is unique to their age and that will define a lot about the health of their teeth and mouth — for better or for worse — as children, teens and even adults. Children’s dentistry in West Edmonton is a specialization of dentistry that focuses specifically on the important developmental needs of infants and children. The goal of a pediatric dentist near you – and the whole team at Aldergrove Dental Clinic – is simple: to set your kids up for a lifetime of good dental health. If you’re the parent of a young infant, here are some unique just-for-infants dental concerns that you should be aware of.
When should you take your child to the dentist for the first time?
Your youngster should visit a dentist in West Edmonton for the first time right after their first tooth appears — something that usually begins to happen around the six-months age but may occur anytime between three and nine months or even older — or upon turning one year old, whichever occurs first. The goal of an early infant dental visit in West Edmonton is to ensure, primarily, that her gums and teeth (if she has any) are being cared for and kept clean to prevent any oral infections.
When and how to clean your infant’s gums
Even before your infant has teeth, you should consider her oral health. One of the best ways to do this is by gently wiping her gums occasionally — and especially after every feeding. This will get her used to people touching and cleaning her gums and mouth while also eliminating any lingering sugars or acids that can contribute to gum disease even at a young age.
What is baby bottle tooth decay?
One of the foremost culprits when it comes to the development of childhood cavities is associated with an infant’s baby bottle. When sugary beverages are allowed to linger on a child’s gums or teeth, those sugars can produce or fuel tooth decay and gum disease. To avoid these problems, never let your child fall asleep with a bottle containing sweet juices or liquids. Try and minimize the number of sugary substances fed to an infant through a bottle. When your infant child is done feeding from a bottle, wipe her gums and/or brush her teeth to minimize future harm.
What are the potential problems with thumb sucking and pacifier use?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the soothing activity an infant performs while sucking her thumb or pacifier. Infants derive considerable comfort from doing so. They even do it in the womb before birth and, usually, stop doing so around the age of two to four years old. Prolonged thumb-sucking or pacifier use, though, can interfere with the development of a child’s permanent teeth, especially if it persists after her baby teeth begin falling out. Dentists and their support staff who provide children’s dentistry near you will ask about your child’s thumbsucking and pacifier habits and offer strategies to minimize dental risks while ensuring your infant gets the comfort she needs.
What are tongue and lip ties?
Tongue and lip-ties are anatomical variations when the thin and fragile tissue that connects an infant’s tongue to the bottom of her mouth or her upper lip to her gums is unusually thick, short, strong or long-lasting. In some cases, a tongue or lip-tie can interfere with an infant’s breastfeeding, instinctive oral hygiene habits and even speech development.
If you notice your infant has poor lip or tongue mobility or that her lip or tongue forms unusual shapes, or that she has difficulty latching onto a breast when trying to breastfeed, ask your dentist to examine her for a lip or tongue-tie at an infant dental visit near you. Neither issue is a medical problem unless it interferes with your child’s development, in which case your dentist will offer advice about treatment to ease any concerns for the whole family.