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Infant Oral Health Care Information
Diet and Nutrition
Bottle - Breast Feeding
Please do not allow at-will nursing, this encourages nursing decay.
Please use only water in sleep time bottles. -Try to discontinue bottle or breast feeding by age one, and encourage drinking from a cup.
Child who has fallen asleep while sucking on a bottle
Severe decay on palatal surface of upper primary incisors of 18 month old child
Infants and toddlers often have a high carbohydrate diet.
There are also lots of natural sugars in milk and fruit juices.
Crackers, chips, and dry cereals are carbohydrates that form a pasty film that is very sticky on teeth. These carbohydrates are then converted to sugars by the normal oral bacteria that promote tooth decay and gum problems. Be careful!
Oral Habits
Thumbs, fingers, and pacifiers can definitely cause or intensify orthodontic problems.
However, it is normal for infants and children to have a strong sucking desire.
Some disfigurement of the primary teeth will self-correct.
Most children stop oral habits on their own.
Oral habits should be stopped before the permanent teeth erupt (approx. 6 yrs. old).
Grinding of teeth is normal and should not be an area of concern unless there is significant wear of the teeth.
Symptoms include - sensitive and uncomfortable gum areas, drooling, irritability, possible low grade fever and diarrhea.
Treatment can include - massaging sore gums with a finger or teething rings, placing ice or frozen rings on gum areas. The best remedy is your child's pediatric dose of Tylenol or fever reducing medication for pain.
Dental Development
There will be a total of 20 primary teeth.
Usually the lower incisors are the first to erupt around 6 months of age, and all primary teeth are not erupted until about 2-3 yrs. of age.
Eruption problems include - eruption hematomas (bruising) over the erupting teeth.
Spacing, crowding, and rotations of teeth, extra teeth or missing teeth can usually be attributed to heredity. Eruption patterns and sequences vary from child to child.

Oral habits should be stopped before the permanent teeth erupt (approx. 6 yrs. old).
Plaque is the enemy.
Brush 2 times per day (after breakfast and especially before bed.)
Brush in a circular pattern, cleaning one area at a time.
Toothpaste is not necessary. A wet brush will work fine to remove plaque and food.
A washcloth or gauze will work well for the early primary dentition.
Flossing is recommended for teeth that have tight contacts and trap food.
Stains can occur from foods, vitamins, iron drops, and other medicines. We can easily clean these off if they occur.
Toothpaste has quite a bit of fluoride in it. If the child is allowed to swallow it, this can cause white or brown spots to occur on the developing permanent teeth. Use toothpaste sparingly with young children.
Too much fluoride can cause a discoloration of the permanent teeth called fluorosis.

Sources of fluoride include - fluoridated water, bottled juices (from concentrate), prescription vitamins, and toothpaste.
Know the fluoride level in your water.
If your water is not fluoridated, we can provide you with a prescription for fluoride drops.
Do not allow your child to eat or swallow toothpaste as fluorosis can easily occur.
Traumatic Injuries
We hope you never have to experience a dental injury but...
30% of children have dental injuries before the age of 5, with boys being twice as likely to experience an injury than girls.
If injuries occur, severe enough to cause bleeding or fractured teeth, the child should receive an evaluation. Change of color of teeth or red swollen gums are not normal and can indicate a dental infection although the child is in no apparent discomfort. Primary teeth react differently to injuries than permanent teeth. Often only an x-ray can detect pathological changes in the traumatized primary teeth.
We are always available to see emergencies. Please do not hesitate to call or page us.
Future dental visits
At future check-ups we provide a comprehensive oral exam, clean and fluoride the teeth, as well as take appropriate x-rays if necessary.
Behavior of toddlers and children varies widely. Your child will go through different stages of development at his/her own rate. We find most children will grow into great dental patients with a fun dental atmosphere.
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