Early Infant Oral Care
When Will My Baby Start Getting Teeth?
Teething, the process of baby (primary) teeth coming through the gums into the mouth, is variable among individual babies. Some babies get their teeth early and some get them late. In general the first baby teeth are usually the lower front (anterior) teeth and usually begin erupting between the ages of 6-8 months. See “Eruption of Your Childs Teeth” for more details.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (Early Childhood Caries)
One serious form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay. This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infants teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks.
Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquid pools around the childs teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. If you must give the baby a bottle as a comforter at bedtime, it should contain only water. If your child won’t fall asleep without the bottle and its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle’s contents with water over a period of two to three weeks.
After each feeding, wipe the babys gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place the childs head in your lap or lay the child on a dressing table or the floor. Whatever position you use, be sure you can see into the childs mouth easily.
Use of a Sippy Cup
Using a sippy cut at bedtime can be as harmful as using a baby bottle beyond reasonable weaning age. If your child needs to have his/her sippy cup by the bed at night, put only water in the cup.