A child's first dental visit should be scheduled around his/her first birthday. The most important part of the visit is to give a complete anticipatory guidance to parents about oral health care and disease prevention. It includes about teething, tooth eruption, feeding and dietary pattern, oral hygiene instructions and first aid management. It is also important to know and get familiar about the pediatric dentist and the dental office. A pleasant, comfortable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits. If possible, the child is allowed to sit in a parent's lap for an oral examination.
Whenever you feed your baby you should wipe the gum pad, cheeks and tongue with a clean damp cloth or gauze pad. This removes the sticky film called plaque where bacteria that causes dental cavity forms. Begin to introduce the toothbrush when the first teeth erupt. Until your child is able to spit water, use fluoride free toothpaste. Once your child is able to spit water, use no more than a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
If you are using no more than a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day, it is safe if the baby swallows it. The very small amount has been calculated to be safe even for a 6 month old. However, it is easy to wipe the excess toothpaste away with a clean gauze or towel while you brush your baby’s teeth.
The first tooth usually comes around 6 – 10 months of age. Most often the lower front tooth comes in, followed by the upper front tooth. The tooth eruption timing of primary teeth is more variable than for permanent teeth. The front 8 teeth (4 on top and 4 on bottom) usually have come in by 10-15 months of age.
Nursing is the natural and healthiest form of nurturing for both mother and infant. Before the first tooth comes in, use a clean damp cloth or gauze pad to wipe the gum pad, cheeks and tongue after every feed. Once the first tooth erupts try to minimize the frequently of night feeding and avoid putting the infant go to sleep with bottle containing mild. Mother’s milk and bottle milk has sugars that have the potential to start cavities when left in the mouth for extended periods of time. Babies that have teeth and are nursed at-will rather than on demand through the night can develop cavities as severe as those produced by a nursing bottle.