How to take care of your infant’s gumline/teeth

The giggle. The shine in the eyes. Your baby’s smile means everything to you. There are several ways you can get your child off to a great start to keep that charm throughout life by giving her routine daily oral care from the time she is born.

At first your child will only consume breast milk or formula. It is easy to believe that because these substances are what your child needs, they may be harmless. But breast milk and formula alike contain sugar. Breast milk contains 17g of sugar per every 246g serving. Formula contains 2.5g of sugar per every 30.5g serving. Babies need the components of breastmilk and formula to develop properly, but in order to take care of their teeth and gums, it is important to wipe the baby’s gumline with a clean, damp cloth after each feeding.

It is important to know that babies are not born with the bacteria that causes cavities. This bacteria is passed from kisses, sharing utensils or cups,from their caregiver cleaning the pacifier with their own mouth and by exposure to sugar.

By wiping down your child’s gum line, you are not only removing sugar from them, but you are also teaching your child that you need to be able to access their mouth to clean when their teeth do come in.

Before your child’s first tooth pops through, she may begin to drool, become irritable, get a rash or run a small fever. These are normal teething symptoms. By rubbing your baby’s gum with a clean finger, you may provide some relief. Chilled teething rings or a cool washcloth may also help. Consult your pediatrician before trying over-the-counter medications.

Many parents believe that it is not important to take care of their child’s baby teeth because in a few years they will be replaced by permanent ones. But these first teeth are not only placeholders for the permanent teeth to come in later, but children can also begin to develop the early stages periodontal and gum disease.

Once your child’s teeth begin to break through the gum line, you can use a smear of fluoride toothpaste on an age and size appropriate toothbrush to clean the teeth. As they reach the ages or 2 to 5 (or before kindergarten) they should use a pea-size amount of toothpaste. Once your child reaches kindergarten and can tie their shoes, she should be able to brush her teeth on her own.

By brushing your child’s teeth two times a day and flossing once a day, she will be on the way to keeping her pearly whites as healthy as possible. But there is more that you can do to give her the additional nutrients she needs. By following each meal with tap water, you will not only give her a tool to wash the food particles away, but she will also receive fluoride, which will help remineralize the tooth enamel.

We also recommend that babies visit our office between the time that they get their first tooth and the time that they are 1-year old. Getting know little ones is something we look forward to, but it also gives us a chance to educate you on what to expect and how to care for your child’s teeth. We will also make sure she is getting enough fluoride.

Taking care of your child’s mouth is another way that you can bond with and take care of her. We look forward to being here for you and your baby as she grows and continues to melt your heart with her smile.

meet-dr-kassemMahomet native Dr. Nezar Kassem returned to his hometown to open Mahomet Family Dentistry in 2002 after graduating from Western Illinois University in 1995 and the University of Illinois College of Dentistry in 1999.

Dr. Kassem provides comprehensive treatment plans for patients of all ages, while also using the latest technologies for restorative and cosmetic dental procedures, so patients can achieve excellent oral health. It is also important to Dr. Kassem that each patient is educated on proper routine oral-care techniques and that any concerns are promptly addressed—he and his staff take pride in spending ample time with each patient. He also enjoys talking to patients over the years, learning about their interests and family. Dr. Kassem’s staff has become an extension of his family as the practice has grown in the last 15 years.

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