How We Can Help New Parents With Oral Health

  • May 4, 2016

A new baby is a welcome addition to any family. He or she is always a tremendous responsibility for parents, too.

All parents want their children to be happy and healthy, and we hope that includes your baby’s oral health.

You may not realize how early your child’s dental care can begin, however. Our team at Beaumont Family Dentistry has made family care — including pediatric dentistry — an important part of our practice.

You can visit any of our Lexington-area dentist offices to find out how important this service is to us. For now, we want to explain some of the things you can do to help your child (even before he or she has teeth).

Ties That Bind

Family ties are important for every child, but tongue and lip ties can become major problems.

An estimated 10 percent of newborns are born with a tongue-tie, lip-tie, or both. If left untreated, these conditions can cause lifelong challenges for your son or daughter.

Tongue ties occur when the tissue underneath someone’s tongue limits his or her tongue’s range of motion. Lip ties occur when the tissue that connects someone’s lips to his or her gum tissue limits how they can move their upper lip.

Children with either kind of tie can have difficulty feeding properly. If your son or daughter can’t create the proper suction to nurse, then he or she may become malnourished as well.

If you son or daughter can’t eat effectively, then your child may not get enough nutrients to stay healthy and strong.

This can create psychological issues as well. If your child isn’t able to breastfeed correctly, this can become discouraging for the child and for the mother. In some situations, it can become a barrier to parental bonding, or the mother may feel like she has let down her child in some way.

If left untreated, children and adults with lip or tongue ties can continue to have trouble eating and drinking. They also may have difficulty speaking and pronouncing words correctly as they get older.

Untying The Problems

If you have noticed that your child is having difficulty eating, please see your pediatrician. If you learn that your son or daughter has a tongue or lip tie, we can help. Just ask your pediatrician to refer you to our office.

We offer laser correction for babies with tongue and lip ties. Laser treatment is more comfortable for your child than a surgical approach.

We start by swaddling your child and holding him or her carefully. We use our laser to loosen the frenum (the tissue that connects the tongue or the lip). As scary as it may sound, the laser procedure is painless for your child. 

The treatment takes about a minute to complete. We ask you to be present so that you can nurse or feed your child immediately. This is the start of your child learning how to nurse more effectively.

After the treatment, we will explain what you need to do to prevent the frenum from healing back together. You can leave knowing that this simple procedure has saved your child from a lifetime of eating and speech problems.

Caring For Little Teeth

Whether or not we treat your child for a tongue or lip tie, we would like to see him or her for a dental visit around 2 years old.

The most important thing we want to do during this first visit is to start building a relationship with your child. We try to make this visit fun for you son or daughter. We call it a “Happy Visit.”

We want your child to feel comfortable with us and with the dentist office. We will only do what your child will allow us to do. If he or she isn’t ready to let us look at his or her teeth, that’s OK. Again, the first visit is more about building familiarity and trust.

This is a good time for parents to ask questions, too. Everything is new for you, too, especially if you are first-time parents.

We will be happy to explain what you can do to care for your child’s teeth at home.

We also have learned that some parents don’t think they need to worry about baby teeth since they will fall out later anyway. The truth is your child needs his or her primary teeth to serve as space savers for when their permanent teeth erupt.

Plus, by learning good oral hygiene habits while they have baby teeth, your children will know how to care for their permanent teeth when they get older.

Here For You And Your Baby

The staff at Beaumont Family Dentistry is here to support you as your child grows up and his or her dental needs change. You can reduce son or daughter’s risk of oral health problems by making routine dental care a part of your lives.

To make an appointment, call or click on the office closest to you to fill out our online form.

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