Early Dental Care

Little boy is feeling happy and relaxed during his early dental care appointment with Dr. William O’Neal at William R. O’Neal, Sr., D.M.D Family and Cosmetic Dentistry.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is very important and should begin as soon as the appearance of your baby’s first tooth. One may think that because the first set of teeth are baby teeth, they’re not as important to take care of as adult teeth are—but this isn’t the case! Measures must be taken to avoid tooth decay and infections, set a healthy base for your child’s adult teeth to come in, and (most importantly) establish good lifelong oral health practices to avoid common dental problems. If you’re unsure about how to care for your child’s teeth, what to look out for, or when to take your child to their first dental visit—not to worry! Dr. William O’Neal will help by covering all the important points of your child’s early dental care.

Infant Tooth Eruption

Did you know that a child's teeth actually start forming before birth? The primary teeth (most commonly known as baby teeth) can push through the gums as early as 4 months of age! The lower central incisors will appear first and will then be followed by the upper central incisors. By age 3, you, the parent, should see the remainder of the 20 primary teeth erupt. In order to minimize the appearance of tooth decay (or totally prevent it) in infants, the parent or caretaker should not allow sleeping infants to bottle-feed. Bottle-feeding while sleeping exposes the infant’s teeth to sugars and enzymes that, while left in their mouth, can start breaking down the baby’s tooth enamel. If your child needs a bottle to comfortably fall asleep, please consider some alternatives such as a water-filled bottle or a pacifier.


What You Need to Know About Teething

A baby's first tooth typically erupts between 6 to 12 months of age. Symptoms that you should expect your child to experience are sore gums, tenderness, and an irritable disposition until the age of 3. You can combat these symptoms and soothe their gums by rubbing their gums gently with a clean finger, with the back of a cold spoon or a giving them a cold, wet cloth or teething ring to suck on. While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor their teeth for signs of baby bottle decay. Take precautions by examining their teeth, especially on the inside (or the tongue side), every two weeks for dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface) or lines.

Maintaining A Good Diet Keeps Teeth Healthy

The teeth, bones, and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and cheeses (which promote strong teeth) helps minimize and avoid cavities and other dental problems. Each time a child drinks any liquid containing sugar, the sugar in the liquid mixes with the bacteria found in your child’s mouth, which then form acids that attack their tooth enamel. Typically, when the baby is awake, their saliva carries away the liquid—lessening the time of the acidic attack. During their sleep cycle, however, their saliva flow significantly decreases and the liquid pools around your child's teeth for an extended amount of time, covering their teeth in acids. This is why, as soon as you see the appearance of teeth in your child, you must begin, not only being thoughtful of their diet, but also regularly brushing their teeth (or tooth if there is only one). 

Schedule Your Child's First Dental Visit, Today!

A child's first dental visit should be scheduled around his/her first birthday. The most important part of the visit is getting to know and becoming comfortable with our dentist and our warm and amazing dental staff. A pleasant and comfortable first impression will work wonders as it builds a foundation of trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits. Request a free consultation with Dr. O’Neal via our online form or give us a call directly at 251.479.5157. Hope to see the little one, soon!

Phone: (251) 479-5157

116 S. Florida St.,

Mobile, AL 36606

Dr. William R. O’Neal, Sr.

  • The Dental Office of Dr. William R. O’Neal, Sr. - 116 S. Florida St., Mobile, AL 36606 Phone: 251-479-5157 Fax: 251-471-3423

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