Dental Care for Infants & Toddlers

Toddler care tips and information

Caring for Gums

Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, the gums can benefit from your careful attention. After nursing or bottle feeding, wrap one finger with a clean, damp washcloth and gently rub it across your baby’s gum tissue. This practice both clears your baby’s mouth of any fragments of food and begins the process for building good daily oral care habits by getting the baby accustomed to having a parent clean his or her mouth.

When will my baby start getting teeth?

Teething, the process of baby teeth coming through the gums into the mouth, is variable among individual babies. In general, the first baby teeth to appear are usually the lower front teeth between the ages of 6-8 months. Most children have their first tooth by 12 months.  See “Eruption of Your Childs Teeth” for more details.

When do we start brushing?  And should we use fluoride toothpaste?

If you see teeth, it’s time to brush them!  We recommend a soft, infant sized toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste.  A very thin smear of toothpaste is all that you need to prevent cavities – just enough to change the color of the bristles.  This minimal amount of toothpaste will prevent cavities and it will do no harm if it’s swallowed, which is quite common at this age.  

When should we take my baby to the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you bring your baby for a first dental visit by his or her first birthday.  Just remember: first birthday, first check-up!   Since cavities can occur even in very young children, the earlier your baby visits us, the sooner we can work together to prevent problems.  We’ll look for any signs of early cavities with your baby’s oral health and show you the best way to care for your little one’s teeth. 

Infant Dental Care Tips & Information

That tiny, toothy grin is adorable! Follow these tips to keep those pearly whites healthy:

  1. Clean your baby’s gums: After feedings, wipe your baby’s gums with a wet wash cloth.  This removes food, milk and germs, and make your baby accustomed to having an adult clean his or her mouth.
  2. First teeth: If you see a tooth, brush it!  A small, infant toothbrush is perfect for the task.  Wet it with warm water to soften the bristles.  
  3. Fluoride toothpaste: Use a kid’s toothpaste with fluoride as soon as you see teeth.  A thin smear, just enough to color the bristles, is more than enough to prevent cavities.  
  4. Regular dental visits: Schedule the first dental visit by your child's first birthday or when the first tooth erupts. 
  5. Bottle feeding: Do not give your baby a bottle of juice, milk or soda in the crib.  These sugary liquids pool in the baby’s mouth at nighttime and cause cavities.  Rather, give your baby a bottle of milk immediately before bed, brush, and then put your child in his or her crib.
  6. Develop a taste for healthy foods: Introduce a variety of nutritious foods and limit sugary snacks and beverages. Infants should not drink juice according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.  
  7. Teething relief: Provide cooled teething toys or a clean, cold washcloth for your baby to chew on to help soothe the discomfort of teething.  Babies often need extra TLC during this time.  There is no evidence that amber teething necklaces provide any relief; in fact, they are choking hazards in this age group.  If you’ve exhausted these options and your child is still inconsolable, ibuprofen can be given in the appropriate weight-based dose.  
  8. Avoid pacifier misuse: If your child uses a pacifier, do not dip it in sugary substances and do not clean it off with your mouth; germs in your mouth may be transferred to your child’s mouth. Pacifiers with animals attached to them put undue force on your child’s developing teeth and upper jaw.  

Toddler Dental Care Tips & Information

Toddlers can be tough!  They’re starting to assert their independence, but don’t have the skills to successfully execute daily living tasks like brushing their teeth.  Here are some tips for setting the stage for good oral health for your toddler:   

  1. Daily brushing: Toddlers will not have the dexterity to brush their teeth effectively and so an adult will have to brush for the child.  If your child is resistant, don’t give up.  There are many things at this age that toddlers don’t like to do (for instance, diaper changes), but we as adults know that we must do for health and safety.  Toothbrushing falls into this category.  
  2. Floss if the teeth are touching:  At this age, some children have gaps in between their teeth, and others have teeth surfaces that touch their neighbors.  When the gaps between your child’s teeth close, it’s time to floss.  While colored flossers are fun, sometimes the thick plastic handle makes navigating a small mouth tricky.  We prefer waxed dental floss.
  3. Take it to the floor:  Lay your toddler’s head in your lap with his or her feet extended in front of you.  This position will make it easiest to brush and floss your child’s teeth.  You can even place your child’s hands under your legs or place your leg over your child’s lower body to keep them still.  
  4. Fluoride toothpaste: Use a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste to help prevent cavities. Toddlers likely cannot fully spit.  By using a thin smear of toothpaste, you will prevent cavities and there will be no concern with swallowing that minimal amount of toothpaste. Please keep toothpaste out of reach of exploring toddlers.
  5. Regular dental check-ups: Schedule dental check-ups every six months. Toddler behavior at dental visits can be unpredictable – meltdowns, tears and irrational fears are common in this age group.   But we do know that repeated visits will familiarize your child to the routine of dental checkups and lead to success.
  6. Carefully choose toddler snacks:  Goldfish crackers keep dentists in business!  Candy, soda and cookies are not the only things that cause cavities.  Carbohydrates of any kind (chips, crackers, dry cereal) break down to sugars and can cause cavities.  Reduce grazing habits; if your toddler walks around snacking on a bag of Goldfish, his or her teeth are constantly coated in food and the possibility of cavities developing is high.
  7. Choose beverages carefully: If your toddler drinks juice, limit it to small amounts (4 – 6 ounces daily) and serve it with meals. Sipping on juice, even watered down, for extended periods of time lengthens the teeth’s exposure to sugars that create cavities.  Better yet, stick to milk and fluoridated tap water and delay introducing juice.
  8. Nighttime routine: Brush, book, bed.  Kids do best with structure and this routine, when established early, sets the stage for less conflict at bedtime.
  9. Lead by example: Toddlers often learn by observing their parents.  Demonstrate good oral hygiene habits by brushing and flossing your own teeth. Speak about the dentist in friendly, positive terms.  Toddlers have a close connection with parents at this age and intuitively pick up on any fears and anxieties parents project about the dentist.
  10. Emergency preparedness: Toddlers love to explore, climb on things, and test boundaries!  Be prepared for dental emergencies. Stock popsicles or freeze pops in the house and have our office number on hand for emergencies.

Time for an appointment? We love meeting new smiles!

Our Office Address

1110 Crosspointe Lane

Suite D

Webster, NY 14580

Our Front Desk Phone Number

(585) 872-0150

Our Office Fax Number

(585) 872-6183

Our Office Hours

Monday: 7:30 AM - 5 PM

Tuesday: 7:30 AM - 5 PM

Wednesday: 7:30 AM - 5 PM

Thursday: 7:30 AM - 5 PM

Friday - Sunday: Closed