Preventative Dentistry

CARING FOR YOUR BABY AND TODDLERS TEETH AND MOUTH

BIRTH TO 6 MONTHS
ORAL HYGIENE AND PREVENTION OF DECAY
Clean gum and ridges after feedings, using a soft wet cloth or gauze.
Parents often elect to clean the mouth at bath time.
Positioning of infant is important to gain access and co-operation.
Try to cradle your baby, or lie him/her on your knee for comfort and remember to engage your baby by smiling, singing or talking.
Fluoride supplements may be needed – ask your dentist.
Rooibos tea contains fluoride and can be given in moderation ( don’t add sugar).
Rinse your child’s mouth with water immediately following the dispensing of sweetened or syrupy medications. NUTRITION AND FEEDING
Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle – if your baby cries for the bottle, fill it with water.
Don’t allow prolonged breast- feeding after first teeth erupt, as breast milk also contains natural sugars.
Do not add sugar to tea or give your baby fruit juices or soft drinks.
Limit high frequency of sugar consumption, e.g. sweets. Xylitol (an artificial sweetener) may be used if necessary.
Avoid the use of food for behaviour modification. Avoid use of bottle as dummy. TEETHING
Symptoms include excessive chewing and drooling, irritability, a change in appetite, interrupted sleep patterns and crying.
Fever or diarrhea usually are not symptoms – consult your physician.
Ways to ease the symptoms are:
* Chewing on objects e.g. cold cloth, or teething ring.
* Numbing solutions are not recommended, as these products contain a strong anaesthetic that is difficult to control, and may numb the entire oral cavity and suppress the gag reflex if swallowed.

DENTAL VISITS
Parents should make appointments for their own dental care to eliminate harmful bacteria that may be transferred to the baby.
6 TO 12 MONTHS
ORAL HYGIENE AND PREVENTION OF DECAY

Gums and newly erupting teeth may be cleaned with a toothbrush using only water or toothpaste containing Xylitol (no fluoride) and this is done after feedings.
Positioning and engaging your baby is still important to help your child associate the process with a pleasant experience.
Parents should be alert for signs of decay. Fluoride supplements may be needed – ask your dentist.
NB: Your baby’s primary (milk) teeth will start erupting at around six months – this is a crucial stage facilitating correct oral hygiene habits to prevent decay.
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
Begin weaning from the bottle and discontinue bottle feeding by 1 year.
Use small, regular cup for drinking.
Limit High frequency of sugar consumption, e.g. Sweets. Don’t add sugar to tea or give your baby fruit Juice or soft drinks.
Xylitol (an artificial sweetener) may be used if necessary.
Provide healthy snacks between meals and limit intake of fermentable and retentive carbohydrate foods e.g. Sticky foods and sweets and sugary drinks.
Avoid the use of food for behaviour modification.
TEETHING
Symptoms include excessive chewing and drooling, irritability, a change in appetite, interrupted sleep patterns and crying.
Fever or diarrhea usually are not symptoms – consult your physician.
Ways to ease the symptoms are:
* Chewing on objects e.g. cold cloth, or a teething ring.
* Numbing solutions are not recommended as these products contain a strong anaesthetic that is difficult to control, and may numb the entire oral cavity and suppress the gag reflex if swallowed.
DENTAL VISIT
Your baby should visit the dentist by 6 months of the eruption of the first teeth. Start preparing child for visit.

12 TO 24 MONTHS
ORAL HYGIENE AND PREVENTION OF DECAY
Brushing should continue to be done by parent, using a small, thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, at least twice a day.
Cleaning just before bedtime is essential.
Toothpaste may not be swallowed.
Parents become role models at this stage – so set a good example and show your child your oral hygiene habits.
Parent should be alert for signs of decay or changes in the mouth.
Fluoride supplements may be needed – ask your dentist.
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
Use small, regular cup for drinking. Limit high frequency of sugar consumption, e.g. Sweets.
Don’t add sugar to tea or give your baby fruit juice or soft drinks.
Xylitol ( an artificial sweetener) may be used if necessary.
Provide healthy snacks between meals, and limit intake of fermentable carbohydrate foods e.g. Sticky foods, sweets, sugary drinks.
Teach child about nutrition and healthy diet.
Thumb sucking will cause the teeth (especially the front teeth) to erupt in an incorrect position.
***NB – do not encourage thumb sucking.
TEETHING
Symptoms include excessive chewing and drooling, irritability, a change in appetite, interrupted sleep patterns and crying.
Fever or diarrhea usually are not symptoms – consult your physician.
Ways to ease the symptoms are:
* Chewing on objects e.g. cold cloth, or teething ring.
* Numbing solutions are not recommended, as these products contain a strong anaesthetic that is difficult to control, and may numb the entire oral cavity and suppress the gag reflex if swallowed.
DENTAL VISITS
Home preparation for the dental visit is very important – encourage oral hygiene and role play a visit to the dentist to help your child associate with a pleasant experience.

2 TO 5 YEARS
ORAL HYGIENE AND PREVENTION OF DECAY
Parents should still supervise brushing, but keep child involved.
A pea- size amount of toothpaste may be used during brushing – toothpaste may not be swallowed.
Lift upper and lower lip during brushing, making sure to clean the teeth and gums.
Cleaning should be done at least twice a day, in the morning and just before bedtime.
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
Encourage your child to eat foods from all food groups, and provide healthy snacks. Limit juices, sweetened cold drinks, and sticky sweets.
Thumb/finger sucking should not continue beyond age 4 – this behaviour should be eliminated immediately.
TEETHING
All the primary (milk) teeth should have erupted by 2 -3 years of age.
Upper jaw*** ten teeth
Lower jaw*** ten teeth
Permanent teeth should start replacing primary dentition at 6 years.
DENTAL VISIT
Your child needs regular dental care every six months, unless the dentist identifies a need for more frequent check – ups.
Reinforce the helping/caring nature and effects of your dental professional.