Perinatal & Infant Oral Care
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all pregnant women receive oral healthcare and counseling during pregnancy. Research has shown evidence that periodontal disease can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Dr. Nelson is happy to offer free prenatal consultation appointments to expectant mothers, to ensure that they understand how their own oral health during pregnancy can affect their babies, and what to expect in the early months following childbirth. Please contact our office to inquire about this visit and set up an appointment.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (Early Childhood Caries)
One serious and fairly common form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay. It is caused by long and frequent exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. These liquids include milk (and breast milk), formula, fruit juice, and other sweetened drinks. Putting a baby to bed with a bottle filled with anything but water can cause rapid and serious tooth decay.
Even before babies get their first tooth, care can be taken to ensure that their gums are healthy and clean. After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque.
Sippy cups can be used as a training tool from the bottle to a cup, but should be discontinued by the child’s first birthday. If your child uses a sippy cup throughout the day, fill the cup with water only. By filling the sippy cup with liquids that contain sugar, and allowing the child to drink from it all day, the teeth are constantly bathed in cavity causing sugar.
Protecting Baby Teeth
It is very important to maintain the health of the baby teeth. Cavities that form in the baby teeth can impact the developing permanent teeth. Baby (primary) teeth serve a number of important purposes: they promote proper chewing and speaking, they provide space for the permanent teeth and can help guide them into good position, and they promote the normal and healthy development of the jaw bones and muscles. When kids are in dental pain, it can have significant impacts on their behavior and performance in all areas of life.