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Oral Health Life Stages: 0-23 Months

By Jill Feilmeier on February 4, 2014 in Kid's Health

Mother walking with her children

As you watch your baby grow from a toddler into a teenager, their dental health care needs will evolve as well. Every Tuesday during the month of February in honor of Children's Dental Health Month, Delta Dental of Iowa will be offering dental health tips for parents for children throughout the different stages of life.

It may be Children's Dental Health Month, but that doesn't mean those baby biters don't need care all year long. Here are a few tips to help build a foundation of healthy and happy smiles for your infant. .

Before your baby's first tooth erupts, clean his or her gums with a damp washcloth after feedings. Cleaning your baby's gums will help keep bacteria levels low and maintain a clean home for his or her new teeth.

Some babies experience sore gums and general discomfort when teething. Signs of teething include crankiness, lack of appetite, excessive drooling, restless behavior, pink or red cheeks, coughing, upset stomach, and chewing or sucking on fingers and toys. You can help relieve the pain with teething toys or by giving your baby a cold, wet cloth to suck on.

Once the first tooth erupts, use a soft toothbrush and water to brush your baby's teeth and gums in soft, gentle circles twice a day, and check for any spots or stains.

Within six months of your baby getting their first tooth – and no later than your baby's first birthday –he or she should have their first visit to the dentist. An early dental visit confirms the teeth are growing in healthy, and it also helps to make your child feel comfortable at the dentist.

Whether your child is 1 month or 2 years-old, follow our advice and your child will have a happy and healthy smile for a lifetime.