12620 Clarksville Pike
Clarksville, MD 21029


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Dental Prevention & Care for Infants and Toddlers

Parents and expecting couples have all types of questions about proper dental care and oral health for their children. On this page, you'll learn everything you need to know about dental prevention for infants and toddlers.

Dental Care for Infants

Your baby's gums and first teeth may be gently cleaned with either a clean finger or cloth, or special toothbrushes which fit over your finger. Simply use water in place of toothpaste, and don't use fluoride toothpaste until children are above the age of 2.

As more teeth come in, use a child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush, and a small, pea-sized portion of toothpaste. Ensure your child does not swallow toothpaste.

Children develop 20 primary teeth, usually by age 3. These primary, or baby teeth, are replaced by about the age of 12, with the full set of 28 permanent teeth, and then four molars, which we call wisdom teeth.

It's important to not take the attitude that primary teeth don't matter, because they don't last. In fact, they may affect the development of permanent teeth, so should be treated with care.

The first dental appointment for a child should be between about six months and one year of age. This is when the first primary teeth emerge, and it's a good opportunity to check for any potential problems early on, while offering parents more information, and getting the young ones acquainted with the office.

Conditions or Problems to Look out For

One condition to watch far is known as baby bottle tooth decay, wherein sugar from breast milk or juice combines with saliva to lead to premature decay of future primary teeth. This could even hamper the development of permanent teeth down the road. Prevent this by not allowing your baby to nurse on his or her bottle while going to sleep, avoiding dipping pacifiers in sweet substances, including honey, and encouraging your child to drink from a cup.

Additionally, thumb-sucking and pacifiers could also negatively impact infants. Thumb sucking could lead to malformed teeth or bites, and crooked or crowded teeth. Teething rings and pacifiers are generally fine until about the age of 4, at which point they should be discouraged so they don't interfere with teeth development.

Toothaches are common in young children, particularly as they're teeth are erupting. However, if they persist or seem severe, you should contact the dentist to see if there's anything more serious involved.

Injuries are always a concern for young children as they run and play around. We encourage wearing mouth guards during physical activities. In the case of either fractures or a tooth which has been knocked out, you should contact the office.

Feel free to call our office at 410.531.5639 with any questions or for more information, or to schedule your child's very first dental appointment fill out our online appointment form.