How Perinatal Checkups Can Protect Your Infant’s Oral Health
When you discover that you’re pregnant, the first reaction is excitement. While you’re pregnant, it’s the perfect opportunity to start thinking about your child’s overall and oral health. The “perinatal” period starts during weeks twenty and twenty-eight and extends for a month after the child is born. When you’re pregnant, you’re thinking about a million other things, and a visit to the dentist is the last thing on your mind.
There is a defined connection between gum disease in the mother and premature babies, babies born with low birth weight, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes. Therefore, mothers should maintain superior oral hygiene throughout their pregnancy. Doing so will ensure the oral health of your baby.
Why You Should Have Regular Perinatal Dental Checkups
Cariogenic bacteria in mothers is connected with multiple adverse effects in babies and children. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that expecting mothers continue to get regular dental checkups to prevent these adverse effects. These checkups can also intervene and treat any issues in the mother before they become an issue for infants.
- Brush – For children under two, use a soft-bristled brush and a minute amount of ADA-approved non-fluoridated toothpaste. Gently brush your child’s teeth twice daily.
- Floss – The moment two adjacent teeth grow in your child’s mouth, cavities can form. Your pediatric dentist can show you how to floss your child’s teeth to prevent cavities.
- Pacifier use –Pacifiers are a lovely way to soothe your child when they’re upset. Ask your dentist what pacifiers are orthodontically correct to ensure the best pacifier for your child. Avoid coating the pacifier in honey or sweetened liquids, as these can cause cavities.
- Use drinking glasses – Bottles and sippy cups allow small amounts of liquid to enter the mouth. Sugary liquids such as milk, soda, juice, formula, breast milk, or sweetened water can contribute to cavities. When using sippy cups, only offer your child water and stop using them after a year.
- Visit the pediatric dentist – After your child’s first birthday, start seeing a pediatric dentist. This “well baby” appointment will give the dentist a chance to examine your baby. They’ll be able to ensure that there aren’t any issues with their teeth or jaw development.
- Wipe gums – As soon as your baby’s first tooth emerges, they’re at risk for cavities. If your baby doesn’t have any teeth yet, wiping the gums with a damp cloth after feeding can reduce the number of oral bacteria.
Your Relationship with Your Pediatric Dentist is Vital
Even if you’ve only just discovered you’re pregnant, it’s vital to start looking for a pediatric dentist. While you’re pregnant, ensuring your oral health is just as essential. Make sure your dentist is aware of the pregnancy and talk to them about how to ensure your child’s oral health. Once your baby is born, establishing a relationship with your child’s dentist is essential. Your child will be seeing this dentist for years, and if you’re prepared to address concerns at an early age, your child will thank you. Oral health, for your child, is just as vital as overall health.
Protecting our oral health is essential to caring for our overall health. As a result, we must start taking steps to protect our smile from our earliest days. During our developmental years, it’s essential that we pick up good oral hygiene habits. These habits will equip us to preserve the beauty of our smile and ensure that it lasts us late into our lives. One thing that parents can do to help growing children develop these habits is to ensure they’re receiving care under a pediatric dental specialist. More than just a family dentist, these professionals focus on developing good oral habits and the concerns that young patients face.
What Pediatric Dentists Provide To Your Child’s Health
Every dentist receives the training necessary to provide primary dental care to patients of all ages. General dentists focus on providing basic services such as preventative care, restorations, and other common concerns. Family dentists do the same, but their focus is on the whole family and whole life care. Pediatric dentists stand apart by having a specific focus on the complex concerns that patients can face during their developmental years. They know how to identify developing problems that will grow into more serious ones that are more costly and uncomfortable to fix later in life.
The benefits of receiving care from a pediatric dentist are many. The most prominent include:
- More Positive Visits – Seeing a dentist can be a challenging experience for anyone. Children often find the experience more challenging than adults. Thankfully, part of a pediatric dentist’s training is to ensure that these visits are comfortable and positive. Doing so helps set good precedents for the child’s relationship with dental care as they become adults.
- Specialized Training – The training that a pediatric dentist undergoes is significant. There are many oral health concerns that can develop during our children’s earliest years. However, these concerns may remain hidden from the untrained eye until they grow into adulthood. Pediatric dentists can catch these early and take steps to address them. Their training also provides them with the skills necessary to handle children struggling with fear or anxiety about their visit to the dentist.
Pediatric dentists focus on providing care for those between the ages of birth and 18 years of age. While some pediatric dentists may continue to accept established patients after this age, it isn’t common to do so. Instead, they begin undergoing a transition program at the age of 14. Over the following four years, the child is educated on their oral health and how to take responsibility for their oral health care as they move into adulthood.
Speak With Your Pediatric Specialist To Learn More
If you’re considering taking your child to a pediatric dental specialist, reach out to their offices today. You can ask them important questions about their clinic and schedule a visit for you and your child. During this visit, you’ll meet the staff and get a feel for the facility, its mission statement, and how it will influence your experiences. Most importantly, it will give your child a chance to meet those who may become responsible for their oral health care for years to come. The relationships they build will inform their dental healthcare choices for a lifetime!