As a parent, you want the best for your children. You make sure you choose a doctor who is a good fit for you and your family. You also want to pick a valued dentist to care for your children’s teeth. At Baystate Dental, we have the knowledge and skills to provide outstanding pediatric dentistry for your children. We also assist pregnant women to make smart choices with their dental health to give the baby the best start possible. We treat children of all ages and recommend you begin their dental care as early as possible.
Pregnancy and Your Baby’s Oral Health
Did you know that you need to provide good dental health even while the baby is in the womb? Teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth month of pregnancy. If you are pregnant, you should should pay extra attention to oral hygiene and diet during pregnancy. You should make note of these:
- Red and tender gums that bleed easily may be caused by increased hormone levels and need to be evaluated properly.
- Avoid sugary cravings, because eating sugary foods often will lead to increased tooth decay.
- Maintain proper nutrition throughout your pregnancy to affect the development of your baby’s teeth.
- If you are plagued with severe periodontal disease, bone loss, or pyorrhea in the mouth, you might have a low-birth weight baby.
- Everything passes the placenta into the baby even bacteria in the mouth. It could have a negative impact on your baby’s development.
Dental Care for Infants
Although babies aren’t showing their teeth until about four months, they have all 20 of the baby teeth when they are born. Therefore, you must take special care of your baby’s oral health. We recommend the use of a damp gauze pad or face cloth to wipe the gums after the baby is fed from a bottle or by nursing.
When you provide nutrients through a bottle to your baby, make sure his or her tongue, lip and cheek are in the right positions so the upper and lower jaw are prepared for the first teeth. If choosing to bottle-feed your baby, Baystate Dental dentists usually recommend NUK brand of nipples and pacifiers because they stimulate natural swallowing and tongue habits in your newborn.
You will see your baby’s lower two front teeth first. Before your child turns three years old, you will see that he or she has the 10 upper and 10 lower.
Children Get Tooth Decay
It’s a myth that tooth decay will not occur in children. Tooth decay knows no age limit even as soon as they break the surface. Babies can get nursing bottle syndrome, a serious form of tooth decay. When you give your baby a bottle at night or right before a nap, you increase the baby’s risk of tooth decay. If the milk, formula, sugar water or fruit juices pool around the child’s teeth for a long time, the teeth will have too much acid on them. The acid will go through the enamel. To help the baby sleep, you may put water in the bottle or even try a pacifier or something else to assist. Once the baby is asleep, take away the bottle.
Parents also have to be mindful of certain behaviors, such as thumb-sucking, because they can cause dental problems if not controlled; however, thumb-sucking is OK up to a certain age. If you are having problems getting your child to stop sucking his or her thumb, we recommend reading literature that highlight ways to stop such behavior. It is important to treat children in a manner that is understandable by them.
Ear Infections Affect Children’s Oral Health
If your children have chronic ear infections or sore throats, you will want to get that corrected. These can cause improper breathing and harm the growth and development of the tongue. Sometimes, removing enlarged tonsils and adenoids can help children’s growth and development. Also, children with food allergies, medication allergies, or those who breathe through their mouths are more likely to have orthodontic problems later in life.
What Are Some Ideas to Help Children Enjoy the Trip to Dentist?
You should choose to bring your children to the dentist for their first visit between ages one and three. We, at Baystate Dental, make a point to give children a positive experience, especially for the first visit.
We recommend these tips:
- Talk to your child about how helpful the dentist is for your teeth.
- Pick morning appointments when possible so the children aren’t tired. Often, parents choose after school appointments when children are school-age.
- Children should eat their regular breakfast meal and take required medicine prior to visiting the dentist.
- Do not miss your appointment unless you have an emergency.
- Don’t use treats as a way to get them to go to the dentist.
- Treat the visit as a natural occurrence.
- Never use the visit to the dentist as a threat or punishment
- Let your child see how much you enjoy the dentist. Don’t show your anxiety.
Pediatric Dentistry Questions
We know as parents you will have questions. That is why Baystate Dental is here to answer them. Feel free to contact us if you have additional concerns that we may not have covered here on this page.
When Should I Make the First Dental Appointment?
Babies begin to show their show their teeth between four and six months, therefore, you want to schedule your first appointment when the child is between one and three. At the first visit, the dentist will evaluate that the teeth and gums are developing properly.
Should My Children Get X-rays?
Yes. All dental patients should have X-rays done. These show the dentists problems that are happening below the gums, in the jaw joints and other areas of the mouth not visible. In all our offices, digital X-rays are used, which reduce the amount of radiation that is exposed to children. We, at Baystate Dental, are careful with children when taking X-rays.
My Children Play Sports, What Should I Do?
You should have your children fitted for custom mouthguards. These protect the teeth from injury that occurs when children play sports. Injuries from sports are common among children and can be damaging to the teeth.
How Do I Get My Children to Brush their Teeth?
Children respond to routines. Make teeth brushing the same time every day and night. Be with them, so you can help them reach back teeth and keep a two-minute timer. Make teeth brushing fun by playing a game with them. Be a role model and brush your teeth at the same time.
If you are ready to bring your child to a wonderful dentist for your children, you can pick one of our many Massachusetts offices. They are located in Belchertown, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Greenfield – Suite 6, Greenfield – Suite 7, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Northampton – King St, Springfield – Harrison Ave, Springfield – Main St #212, Springfield – Main St #215, Westfield, West Springfield, and Wilbraham, Massachusetts. Contact one of our offices today!