3 Myths About Oral Health That Put Your Baby's Smile At Risk

Posted on: 15 July 2015

As a parent, taking care of your baby's development is your first priority. You also need to be on top of things when it comes to your baby's oral health. Teething is an important milestone, but getting your fussy baby through erupting their first tooth is just the tip of the iceberg. Don't fall prey to common misconceptions about pediatric oral health. Here are three myths about oral health that put your baby's smile at risk.

Myth: Babies and young children do not need to visit the dentist.

You may believe that your baby does not need to go to the dentist because he does not have very many teeth; however, it is important to establish dental care early on in life. The American Dental Association recommends bringing your child to his first dentist appointment within six months of gaining his first tooth and definitely by his first birthday. This serves a number of purposes. First and foremost, the dentist is able to evaluate your child's overall oral health and make suggestions for oral hygiene and dietary changes to promote oral health; this, in turn, helps to prevent early childhood cavities. Also, your baby learns to trust the dentist as a baby and this helps settle his nerves as he grows up and goes to future appointments.

Myth: You do not need to brush your baby's teeth while he is teething.

Brushing your baby's teeth and gums while he is teething helps to benefit his oral health. The gums are very vulnerable when new teeth erupt. Bacteria can infect the open tissue and your baby can experience uncomfortable swelling and tenderness. You should brush new teeth daily as they come into your baby's mouth. The new enamel is soft and can easily be broken down. Brush your baby's gums with a soft toothbrush and warm water. The dentist will tell you when it is the right time to switch to toothpaste. Brushing your baby's gums also helps to stimulate them during teething.

Myth: You cannot pass on your poor dental health to your baby.

You can pass on poor dental health, specifically tooth decay, to your baby if you share eating utensils. Your baby naturally wants to try the food on your plate; however, make sure that you give him bites of food from his own fork or spoon. Streptoccocus mutans is a bacteria that is passed on through saliva and it is linked to tooth decay in children. An adult who already suffers from tooth decay is more likely to pass on this cavity-causing bacteria.

For professional dental care, contact a dentist such as Sarah M. Lynch DMD.