One-Year Old Birthday Exam!

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What Parents Can Expect at the Exam

You will be asked to complete medical and health information forms concerning the child during the first visit. Please come prepared with the necessary information.

The first dental visit is usually super informative but involves very little treatment. The parent or guardian will accompany the child to a consult room and the dentist may ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold their child during the exam.

During the exam, your dentist will check all of your child's existing teeth for decay, examine your child's bite, and look for any potential problems with the gums, jaw, and oral tissues. The dentist will discuss with the parents about oral health care basics for children, discuss dental developmental issues and answer any questions.

Topics your dentist may discuss with you:

  • Good oral hygiene practices for your child's teeth and gums and cavity prevention
  • Fluoride needs
  • Oral habits (thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking)
  • Developmental milestones
  • Teething
  • Proper nutrition

This is not a one time visit but the beginning of regular dental visits starting at age one!

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Why a One-Year Old Exam is Important

Baby teeth are very important to your child’s health and development. They help him or her chew, speak and smile. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crooked or crowded. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.

Questions & Answers

When Do Baby Teeth Come In?

A baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaws at birth and typically begin to appear when a baby is between 6 months and 1 year. Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3. Check out the baby teeth eruption chart to see the order in which teeth break through and at what ages you can expect specific teeth to appear. Every child is different, but usually the first teeth to come in are located in the top and bottom front of their mouth. Learn More

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Even though they are temporary, your child's baby teeth are important, and are still susceptible to cavities. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Early Childhood Caries. Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak and have a good-looking smile. Their first teeth also help make sure their adult teeth come in correctly. It’s important to start infants off with good oral care to help protect their teeth for decades to come. Learn More

How Should I Clean My Baby's Teeth?

  • Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
  • Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child's teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin cleaning between their teeth daily.
  • For children younger than 3 years, caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
  • For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.

Is My Baby Teething?

Teething is one of the first rituals of life. Although newborns usually have no visible teeth, most baby teeth begin to appear generally about six months after birth. During the first few years of your child’s life, all 20 baby teeth will push through the gums and most children will have their full set of these teeth in place by age 3. A baby’s front four teeth usually erupt or push through the gums at about six months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months. As their teeth erupt, some babies may become fussy, sleepless and irritable, lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and a fever are not normal symptoms for a teething baby. If your infant has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your physician. Learn More

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, including oceans, rivers and lakes. Fluoride is also added to some community tap water, toothpastes and mouth rinses. Infants and toddlers who do not receive an adequate amount of fluoride may be at an increased risk for tooth decay since fluoride helps make tooth enamel more resistant to decay. It also helps repair weakened enamel. Bottled water may not contain fluoride; therefore, children who regularly drink bottled water or unfluoridated tap water may be missing the benefits of fluoride. If you are not sure if your tap water has fluoride, contact your local or state health department or water supplier. Learn More

Are Pacifiers Good for Teeth?

Infants and young children may suck on thumbs, other fingers or pacifiers. Pacifiers dipped in sugar, honey, juice or sweetened drinks, can lead to tooth decay. Tooth decay can also begin when cavity-causing bacteria pass from saliva in a mother or caregiver’s mouth to the baby. When the mother or caregiver puts the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth, or cleans a pacifier in her mouth, the bacteria can be passed to the baby. Learn More

What Foods Are Best For Baby?

According to MyPlate, a website from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an agency of U.S. Department of Agriculture, a balanced diet should include:

  • Fruits and vegetables. Combined these should be half of what your child eats every day.
  • Grains. Make sure at least half of their grains are whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.
  • Dairy. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods.
  • Lean proteins. Make lean protein choices, such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Try to vary protein choices to include eggs, beans, peas and legumes, too. Eat at least 8 oz. of seafood a week.

In addition to a nutritious diet, snacking habits, bottles and pacifiers also impact your child's oral health. Here are some tips to keep your child's mouth healthy:

  • Place only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks.
  • Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed.
  • If your child uses a pacifier, provide one that is clean—don’t dip it in sugar or honey, or put it in your mouth before giving it to the child.
  • Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday and discourage frequent or prolonged use of sippy cups.
  • Serve nutritious snacks and limit sweets to mealtimes.
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