Safe & Effective Infant Oral Care
by Tricia Mool via Colgate.com
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It's crucial that you have the right information early on when it comes to infant oral care. Even though your child's first teeth are temporary, they are still susceptible to decay and infection, and mothers can actually transfer damaging bacteria to their infants, according to the American Dental Association's (ADA) Mouth Healthy site. Knowing the correct approach to oral care for each stage of your baby's development will ensure you're providing the best care possible.
Infant Care Is Your Dental Care
Good oral care for your baby starts with your own dental health. Disease-causing bacteria called "streptococcus mutans" can transfer from mothers to infants easily, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, and can result in infant dental decay. Poor dietary habits can increase bacteria production and the risk of transfer to your infant, so keep an eye on your diet and practice good oral hygiene yourself.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that early childhood caries, or dental decay that leads to cavities, is a widespread infectious disease for infants in the U.S. It's also one of the most avoidable, and taking the right steps at every stage can prevent it and improve oral health.
The Most Effective Care at Every Stage
Follow these four steps to ensure proper oral care for your child:
1. Schedule your own dental cleaning and exam in the second trimester of your pregnancy. Basic cleaning and care is safe for your baby, and decreases risk of bacteria transmission and infection. Avoid any cosmetic procedures until after your child is born, and limit or delay emergency procedures, such as extractions, if possible.
2. Schedule your baby's first dental health and oral exam no later than one year of age, or when the first tooth erupts, according to both the ADA and The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The goals of this first visit are: