As parents, we want to ensure that our infants are healthy and happy, including taking care of their dental health. However, dental problems in infants are common and can cause discomfort and pain. Contact a dentist in Powell, TN, to discuss the causes of infant dental problems.

  • Poor Oral Hygiene

One of the leading causes of dental problems among infants is poor oral hygiene. Infants without proper oral care risk developing dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. It is important to start oral care when the first tooth erupts. Do not use toothpaste until your infant is at least two years old.

  • Bottle Feeding

Bottle feeding is another cause of dental problems in infants. Prolonged exposure to liquids such as milk, formula, or juice can lead to tooth decay, also known as bottle rot. The sugars in these liquids can cause bacteria in the mouth to produce acids that erode tooth enamel, leading to cavities.

Limiting your infant’s time with a bottle is essential, especially at night. Never put your infant to bed with a bottle, as this can cause the liquid to pool around the teeth, leading to tooth decay. Instead, give your infant a pacifier or a clean, damp washcloth to suck on.

  • Pacifier Use

Pacifier use is another cause of dental problems in infants. While pacifiers can help soothe infants and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), prolonged use can lead to dental issues such as misaligned teeth and overbites.

It is recommended to limit pacifier use to the first six months of life and gradually wean your infant off the pacifier by the age of 1. If your infant continues to use a pacifier after age 1, it is crucial to choose a pacifier that is the right size and shape for your infant’s mouth.

  • Teething

Teething is a natural process when an infant’s first teeth emerge from the gums. While teething is not a dental problem, it can cause discomfort and pain for infants. Some common symptoms of teething include drooling, irritability, and swollen gums.

To help soothe your infant’s discomfort during teething, you can give them a cool teething ring or a clean, damp washcloth to chew on. You can gently rub your infant’s gums with a clean finger or a wet gauze pad.

  • Genetics

Genetics can also play a role in dental problems among infants. Some infants may be born with dental issues such as missing teeth, extra teeth, or abnormal tooth development. These issues can affect the alignment and function of the teeth and may require treatment from a pediatric dentist.