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Dental Care for Mommy and Baby

By Jill Feilmeier on October 10, 2013 in Kid's Health

Couple walking

Pregnancy is one of life's greatest joys, but it can also be stressful. Suddenly you're forced to think about the logistics of having a child. What day care should I choose? What diapers will I use? What doctor will we see?

While Delta Dental of Iowa may not be able to help you choose a diaper brand, we can certainly guide you through your little one's oral health care needs.

Proper oral health truly starts at birth. So, you'll want to get your new baby added to your various benefit plans at work – health, dental, etc., – and start teaching proper oral health at home.

Although infants typically have no teeth for a while, you'll want to start brushing teeth as soon as they come in and start flossing once there are two teeth. But, you should also be aware that there are a few types of dental conditions that may affect your baby. While most of these problems can be treated at home, sometimes they may require the care of a dentist or other health care professionals. In that case, you definitely want your children on a dental benefits plan.

Natal Teeth
Although uncommon, some babies are actually born with one or more teeth already in their mouth, called natal teeth. These teeth are often attached to the gum by soft tissue and don't have a root structure. Natal teeth are most often found on the lower gum and may cause irritation to the baby's tongue or to a nursing mother.

If the teeth are loose enough, they may be accidentally swallowed; therefore, your baby's doctor may decide to remove the teeth. This is usually done before your baby leaves the hospital.

If the teeth are not removed, clean the teeth and gums with a damp cloth after each feeding. Keep an eye on your baby's teeth, gums and tongue to make sure that the teeth are not causing pain. If you notice any redness or pain, call your baby's doctor.

Most parents are familiar with teething—the process of your baby's first teeth coming in through the gums. The average age that this starts is around six months.

Although teething is a normal part of your infant's development, each baby reacts differently to this stage. While some babies don't have any symptoms, some common symptoms you may notice include:

• Drooling more than usual
• Acting fussy or irritable
• A smaller-than-usual appetite
• Diarrhea, fever or rash

Your baby may have sore gums while his or her teeth are starting to come through. You can help soothe sore gums by rubbing a cool spoon, wet washcloth or your clean finger over them. Or try offering your baby a chilled teething ring or pacifier. Your baby's doctor or dentist may also suggest a salve to help numb your baby's gums.

If your child's teeth have not been cause for an early visit to the dentist, set an initial dentist appointment before his or her first birthday. This will help set your infant on the right path for healthy teeth for years to come.