If your smile isn't becoming to you, you should be coming to us!

Baby's First Visit

Your New Baby

Your child's teeth began to form between the third and sixth month of pregnancy. Therfore, all expectant mothers must practice good health habits to ensure the proper development of their unborn child's teeth. This includes consuming calcium-rich foods such as leafy greens, fortified cereals, and dairy or soy products. At birth, your new baby has 20 primary teeth that will begin to emerge when the baby is between 6 months and 12 months.

Good dental hygiene should begin before your child has their first tooth. To prevent the buildup of bacteria in your child's mouth, be sure to wipe their gums with a soft damp cloth after feeding. As teeth emerge, begin using a soft child's toothbrush twice a day. Brush in small circles on all sides of the teeth. Young children tend to swallow toothpaste, so if you use toothpaste only put a small pea-size amount on the brush. Encourage your child to spit it out rather than swallowing. Swallowing too much toothpaste with fluoride can cause permanent stains on their teeth.

Your pediatrician has probably already addressed the topic of fluoride. Muskegon's water already has fluoride added, so if you have city water your child will not need an additional supplement. If not, ask your physician/dentist about a fluoride prescription for your child. Fluoride helps make teeth strong by hardening tooth enamel, which makes then more resistant to decay.


Baby with Dentist

Cleaning A Baby's Teeth

You should be cleaning your baby's gums with gauze following all feedings. Once a tooth has emerged, begin brushing their teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush and a little water. When your child is able to hold a toothbrush and tries to brush on their own, supervise them carefully to make sure they brush every surface. Flossing your child's teeth should be started by the time the back teeth start to emerge. Children do not have the physical dexterity to brush and floss effectively until at least age 8 or 9, and sometimes older.

Baby with Pacifier

Pacifiers

Sucking is a natural reflex for babies and serves to help them learn about their world, feel secure, calm themselves, and it helps them fall asleep. Sometimes new babies do not want a pacifier and parents dip it in honey or something sweet. This practice sets the decay process in motion. Most children will stop thumbsucking/pacifier use between the ages of 2 and 4. Once permanent teeth begin to emerge, sucking of a thumb or pacifier can cause problems with tooth growth and alignment.

Baby with Bottle

Baby Bottle Syndrome

As harmless as it may seem, allowing your shild to drink from a baby bottle for too long can expose your child to tooth decay. After their first teeth appear, they need to be protected from frequent and prolonged exposure to liquids such as juice, milk, or baby formula, which contain sugar. Infants should finish their bottle before going to bed or taking a nap, as these liquids pool in the mouth and lead to decay. If you must put your child to bed with a bottle, fill it partially with water. You should encourage your child to drink from a cup on their first birthday.

Baby with Doctor

First Appointment

You should schedule your child's first dental visit after their first tooth emerges. It is never too early to start caring for your child's teeth.
On their first visit, we will show you (the parent) how to clean your baby's teeth and explain proper feeding habits that can help prevent tooth decay.

Mom Cuddling her Baby

Breastfeeding

Breast feeding encourages nasal breathing as opposed to mouth breathing. The suckling action aids in the proper formation of the jaws, which can prevent a host of problems from childhood through adulthood. Among these problems are the need for braces or developing sleep apnea.