Protect tiny teeth with regular oral health care

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The greatest fear many people have is going to the dentist. You can prevent your baby from developing this fear by taking good care of her oral health — then she’ll never have to endure painful dental work.

Bacteria from your mouth can pass to your baby’s mouth, so brush your own teeth and go to the dentist every six months.

Pediatricians recommend that you use a soft, clean cloth to wipe baby’s gums after feedings. As soon as teeth emerge, brush them daily with a small, soft-bristle toothbrush. Using a tiny bit of toothpaste is an option, but the flavor may be too strong for your baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping that precious little smile healthy by taking your baby for a dental check-up at age 1. This check-up will not include the scary dental instruments that strike fear in adults. Very likely, you will hold your baby on your lap while the dentist looks at and feels baby’s gums and teeth for just a few minutes.

If you need help finding a dentist, contact the Dallas County Public Health Department at 515-993-3750. For more information, including short animated videos on oral health for pregnant women and babies, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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