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Message for New Parents

KEY MESSAGES FOR THE NEW PARENTS:

The first dental visit should be by the first birthday. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child's smile now and in the future.

Dental problems can begin early. You should never put your baby to bed with a bottle since the sugar in the formula, milk or juice will pool around the teeth. A severe condition known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries may occur. At-will nighttime breast-feeding should be avoided after the first primary teeth begin to erupt.

The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily, are better able to learn to speak clearly and smile with confidence.

Encourage children to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday.

Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.

From six months to age 3, children may have sore gums when teeth erupt. Many children like a chilled teething ring. Some parents prefer to simply rub the baby's gums with a clean finger.

Never dip a pacifier into anything sweet before giving it to a baby.

Limit the frequency of snacking, which can increase the risk of developing cavities.

Young children should use an appropriate size toothbrush with a small brushing surface and only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Young children should always be supervised while brushing and taught to spit out rather than swallow toothpaste. Parents should not use fluoride toothpaste for children less than two years of age or until able to spit out.

Children who drink primarily bottled water may not be getting the fluoride that they need.

Thumb sucking is perfectly normal for infants; most stop by age 2 and it should be discouraged after age 4. Prolonged thumb sucking can create crooked teeth or bite problems and crowding.

Parents and caregivers need to take care of their own teeth so that cavity-causing bacteria are not transmitted to the baby. Do not clean pacifiers and eating utensils with your own mouth before giving them to children.

Pediatric Dentistry Indiana Dentist.

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