Building Your Baby’s Smile On a Healthy Foundation | Chesapeake VA Childrens Dentist

Did you know that the oral hygiene habits established in infancy and early childhood can significantly impact your child’s smile into adulthood? At Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we’re committed to helping you lay a strong foundation for your child’s dental health. Here, we explore essential practices to ensure your child’s smile stays healthy and bright.

Nighttime Feeding

Before your infant’s teeth appear, it’s important to clean their tongue and gums with a clean, warm, damp cloth or finger brush after each feeding. Once the first tooth erupts, it becomes crucial to wipe their tongue, gums, and teeth after nighttime feedings. This helps remove the sugary film of unswallowed breast milk or formula, which can compromise enamel and increase the risk of decay.

Weaning from Nighttime Feeding

By the time your infant reaches six months, they can begin to learn to sleep through the night without feedings, a process known as night weaning. At this age, they are likely consuming more solid foods, reducing their need for nighttime breast milk or formula. As you night wean your infant and provide them with enough solid food before bedtime, they might still wake up during the night, but usually for reasons other than hunger.

Prolonged Thumb Sucking & Pacifier Use

Avoiding pacifiers altogether can simplify weaning later. However, if your baby uses a pacifier or sucks their thumb, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends weaning them off by their third birthday. Prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use can affect the development of your child’s face, jaw, and teeth, potentially causing speech issues and improper mouth and facial development. It’s essential to wean your child from these habits as early as possible.

Sugary and Acidic Foods or Drinks

Sugary and acidic foods and drinks, such as fruits, fruit juices, sodas, sports drinks, and carbohydrates, promote bacteria growth in your child’s mouth. This bacteria damages tooth enamel and leads to decay. To protect their teeth, it’s best to limit the intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks. However, since fruit is an important part of a balanced diet, ensure your child brushes their teeth after consuming fruits or fruit juices.

Dental Visits

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should schedule your child’s first dental visit when their first tooth appears. Introducing your infant to a pediatric dentist and maintaining regular dental appointments helps familiarize them with the dental environment, professionals, and procedures. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to care for infants and young children, making them uniquely equipped to handle your child’s dental needs.

Maintaining a consistent oral hygiene routine at home is crucial for instilling lifelong dental habits in your child. Pediatric dental professionals can monitor your child’s dental development and provide personalized advice as they grow. Contact Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, your trusted Chesapeake VA children’s dentist, to schedule your infant’s initial visit. Let us help you create a healthy oral hygiene foundation for your child’s future.

Contact Us

For more information or to schedule your child’s first dental appointment, please call Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry today. We are dedicated to ensuring your child’s smile remains healthy and radiant.

Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (757) 482-4777
350 Johnstown Road, Ste. C
Chesapeake, VA 23322