Tips From a Family Dentist in Albuquerque, NM
When you’re expecting a baby, you imagine what your child will look like, where he’ll go to school and what his interests will be. What you may not have imagined is how you will take care of his teeth! Usually, it is not until after the baby is born that parents begin to think about their child’s oral health, so if this sounds like you, don’t worry—you are in good company.
How can you take care of your toddler’s teeth and gums? Preventing cavities begins at birth. As soon as your baby’s first tooth appears, you should take your baby to a family dentist like Dr. Jeff S. Luffey, DDS, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a family dentist, Dr. Luffey can give you important advice that sets your son or daughter up for a healthy, beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime.
Birth to 12 Months
Before your baby has teeth, you can keep his mouth clean by gently wiping the gums with a clean washcloth. When your child’s first tooth comes in, use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) on a toothbrush and brush the tooth gently.
You should schedule an appointment for a dental checkup with an Albuquerque family dentist after your child’s first tooth arrives. Dr. Luffey can ensure that your child is on track for a healthy smile, offering advice on how to prevent cavities and gum disease in your toddler.
12 to 24 Months
As more of your child’s teeth appear, you will want to brush the twice per day using a small amount of toothpaste. Again, use only a rice-sized amount of toothpaste as your gently brush after breakfast and before bed. Be sure to help or watch your child as they brush to ensure he does not swallow fluoride toothpaste.
It’s also important to teach your child to drink from a regular cup sooner than later, preferably by about 12 to 15 months of age. Drinking from a cup prevents liquid from collecting around the teeth and gums. By preventing cavities, you prevent the need for dental fillings and more serious, expensive dental problems.
Avoid giving your child sugary drinks or sugary snacks. One of the ways children get cavities is by snacking on sugary items throughout the day without brushing after. Sugar is one of the main causes of cavities as it mixes with bacteria in the mouth to form plaque. If your child eats something sugary, teach him to swish his mouth with water to prevent cavities.
Avoid Baby Bottle Decay
One of the most important things you will learn is how to avoid baby bottle decay. Baby bottle decay often occurs when parents allow their child to sleep with a baby bottle, causing cavities and a host of oral health issues that could easily be prevented. Never put your child to bed with a bottle or food. Dr. Luffey explains more about preventing baby bottle decay on his family dentistry page.
Routine Visits with a Family Dentist are Key!
Experts recommend that parents take their children to see a family dentist every six months for a dental checkup and cleaning. By visiting a family dentist in Albuquerque often, you prevent problems with your child’s baby teeth, encouraging healthy adult teeth to grow in.
Once your child has all of his or her teeth, Dr. Luffey may coat the teeth with dental sealants. Tooth sealants protect the grooves and depressions on the surfaces of the back teeth, which are especially susceptible to cavities. Made with a plastic resin, the material prevents bacteria and food particles from settling in the teeth. Dental sealants last for several years.
A Family Dentist in Albuquerque, NM
Dr. Luffey is an experienced Albuquerque dentist committed to providing your family with the best dental care possible. If your family needs a dentist, Dr. Luffey can care for their dental health from infancy through adulthood, providing routine and advanced dental care for patients of all ages. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Luffey by calling 505-294-4700 today!