Valleau and VanDeven Dentistry for Children
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Infant Oral Health: Birth to 12 Months of Age

October 15, 2021
Posted By: Valleau, VanDeven & Massie Dentistry for Children
Baby smiling with two teeth at infant dentist in Grand Rapids, MI

A child’s oral health is integral to their whole-body health and development. Practicing healthy habits can prevent or reduce the risk of tooth decay in infants and children. 

Our pediatric dentists strongly encourage families to care for their child’s oral health from birth, even before their baby teeth come in. Healthy gums are just as important as healthy teeth. To clean your baby’s gums after feeding, wrap a moistened washcloth around your finger and gently massage their gums. This massaging technique stimulates gum growth and reduces bacteria buildup. 

Birth to Six Months of Age

Infants typically start teething between four and six months, which can cause the gums to look red and swollen or for their flow of saliva to increase. To soothe these symptoms, you can give your baby a clean, chilled or room-temperature teething ring or a cold, wet washcloth. Some parents even place the teething ring in the refrigerator to chill it.  

Dental decay is transmissible, so please avoid:

  • Sharing utensils 
  • Testing the temperature of the bottle with your mouth 
  • Cleaning a bottle or pacifier with your mouth 

6 Months to 12 Months of Age 

Babies generally develop their first tooth between six and eight months of age. Your pediatric dentist advises you to continue cleaning your infant’s gums after feeding and relieve any of their teething symptoms, as stated above. Also, only use an age-appropriate soft-bristled toothbrush, with no toothpaste, to massage the gums. 

As your child starts eating solid foods, limit their intake of sweet foods and drinks to avoid cavities. We also suggest becoming familiar with the normal appearance of your child’s teeth, gums, tongue, and oral tissues. Keep note of any concerns, and contact us right away so we can provide your child with the exceptional care they deserve. 

Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit 

Our pediatric dentists recommend bringing your child in for a dental exam before their first birthday or within six months of the eruption of their first tooth. We help kids maintain healthy, beautiful smiles by providing preventive dentistry, like exams, cleanings, and fluoride treatments. 

Please get in touch with us today to arrange your child’s first dental visit. 

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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