Pediatric dentistry

How To Protect Your Baby's Oral Health

A thorough check-up of your baby's overall physical health is a central part of pediatric and family medicine.
Make sure that the health of your child's teeth are part of the examination.

Recent Guidelines

A dentist should check your baby's teeth and mouth (oral health) within six months of the first tooth breaking through the gums - or by one year of age at the latest.

At this first visit, the dentist will examine your baby's mouth. He (or she) will also explain how you should take care of your baby's teeth and mouth, and talk to you about your baby's diet.
Your child's dentist can find any early signs of tooth (or dental) decay and other problems at this time and treat them.


Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is an infectious disease that can happen when bacteria in the mouth interacts with the sugars present in milk and fruit juices. This process produces acids that can be destructive to teeth.

When a baby is awake, the continuous flow of saliva in his mouth dilutes the sugars and washes them off the surfaces of the teeth.
Because there is much less saliva in the baby's mouth when he sleeps, the sugars can concentrate on the surfaces of the teeth. This environment is friendly to bacteria and acid production.

You can prevent tooth decay with proper hygiene: making sure you clean your baby's teeth after a feeding, rather than letting your baby fall asleep right after.

The bacteria that cause dental decay are already present in a baby's mouth before the first tooth breaks through the gums. This is why it's important to clean your baby's mouth after a feeding, even if he doesn't have any visible teeth.

Dental decay can happen to any baby. It doesn't matter how old the baby is, what ethnic group the baby's family is from, what job a baby's parents have or how much money they make.

Under certain conditions, baby teeth can start to decay as soon as they break through the gums, for example: putting a baby to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or any other drinks containing sugar.