Dental Care for Infants and Childers
When Should Dental Care Begin?
Most pediatric dentists will agree that regular dental care should begin by one year of age, with a dental check-up at least twice each consecutive year for most children. Some children may need more frequent evaluations and care. In accordance with this recommendation, the following dental checklist for infants and toddlers has been provided by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry:
Birth to six months of age:
- Clean the infant's mouth with gauze after feedings and at bedtime.
- Consult your child's pediatrician regarding fluoride supplements.
- Regulate feeding habits (bottle feeding and breastfeeding).
Six to 12 months of age:
- During this time, the first tooth should appear. Consult the pediatric dentist for an examination.
- Brush teeth after each feeding and at bedtime with a small, soft-bristled brush.
- As the child begins to walk, stay alert of potential dental and/or facial injuries.
- Wean the child from the bottle by his/her first birthday. (If a woman breastfeeds her child, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least one year. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least two years.)
Twelve to 24 months of age:
Follow the schedule of dental examinations and cleanings, as recommended by your child's pediatric dentist. Generally, dental examinations and cleanings are recommended every 6 months for children and adults.
As your child learns to rinse his/her mouth, and as most deciduous (baby) teeth have erupted by this age, brushing with a pea-sized portion of fluoridated toothpaste becomes appropriate.