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West Des Moines Dentist Discusses Oral Health From Birth

Everyone knows that seeing a dentist on a regular basis is important for adults, for teenagers, and for children. But for babies? Believe it or not, oral care is important for everyone, even those who don’t even have teeth yet. Your West Des Moines family dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson, talks about the importance of good oral care from birth.

Don’t Wait to Begin Oral Care

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a child needs to have made his or her first dental visit by their first birthday. Even at that young age, babies can already be beginning to develop oral health issues. Before that first visit, there are several things parents can do to ensure that there are no nasty surprises. From the very beginning, it is important to gently clean out a baby’s mouth after feedings. A soft, damp washcloth is the best method for that purpose. Once the teeth begin erupting, they need to be brushed twice a day, just like their parents’ teeth, but using a non-fluoridated toothpaste and a toothbrush designed for a baby’s mouth.

Avoid Sugar

Aside from breast milk, many pediatricians and pediatric dentists agree that water is the best drink for your child. Dentists get concerned when the parent regularly gives the child any other drink, including fruit juice. The reason is that most other drinks contain sugar. A steady diet of sugary drinks can play havoc on the young child’s teeth, possibly leading to early cavities. For the same reason, parents are advised to limit the amount of snacks their child is allowed to consume, and to concentrate on giving the child healthy, wholesome foods like fruits and vegetables.

Parents Need Check-Ups, Too

Studies have consistently shown that the children with the worst oral health problems have parents—especially mothers—who also have oral health problems. In fact, the connection between the oral health of parents and their children is so pronounced that the AAP encourages all parents to make sure they are making regular dental visits as well. A family that practices good oral hygiene together is a family with few oral health problems.

Your West Des Moines Dentist Wants to Treat Your Entire Family

Are you seeking a dentist for you or your children? At Valley Ridge Family Dental, we provide comprehensive dental care for the whole family. Contact our 50266 family dental office by calling (515) 223-9764 to schedule an appointment today. We welcome patients from West Des Moines, Waukee, Clive, Urbandale, and the surrounding Des Moines metro communities.


MapValley Ridge Family Dental
6150 Village View Drive, #109,
West Des Moines, IA, 50266
Phone: 515.223.9764
After-hours emergency: 515.423.0445
Fax: 515.327.6230

Office Hours

Monday: 8 am-5 pm
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 8 am-5 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am- 1:30 pm
Friday: 7:30 am-4:30 pm