Have You Taken Your Baby to the Dentist Yet?


boy with fake teeth

photo by The-Autism-Mom

My baby has a few teeth and I wasn't sure if I should be brushing them. After all, aren't they just going to fall out? But yesterday, her pediatrician said I should be—or at least using a cloth to wipe them. There's also a conversation going on over in the Stay At Home Moms group about brushing babies' teeth and it turns out that most of the Baby Mamas there are brushing their little one's teeth as soon as they erupt. (It's a private group and you have to join to participate.) Most of them recommend a fluoride-free baby toothpaste made by Orajel.

But did you know that in addition to brushing your baby's teeth, you're supposed to take him to the dentist?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your baby should visit a pediatric dentist within six months after the eruption of the first tooth or by age one. The problem is, most of us aren't following this advice—only 1.5 percent of babies go to the dentist. And it turns out that the way we care (or don't care) for our baby's first teeth can affect the health of their adult teeth.

In an interview with the San Francisco Gate, Dr. Thuan Le, an assistant adjunct professor in the University of California at San Francisco's Division of Pediatric Dentistry, says, "Many parents assume they don't need to care for baby teeth because they'll be replaced by adult teeth, yet untreated tooth decay can have serious implications for a child's long-term development and well-being. An untreated infected tooth will destroy the surrounding bone underneath. And it will eventually destroy the developing adult tooth under the bone."

For more information on how to care for your little one's teeth, read "Baby teeth need dental care, too."

To find a pediatric dentist near you, plug in your zip code at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's web site.

Have you taken your baby to the dentist? At what age do you plan to bring him?


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