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Dental care needed at birth
Updated: 1/26/2009 7:00:11 PM

Dental care needed at birth Dentists around the country are urging new moms to administer dental care to their newborn babies, even if it means wiping out their child's mouth with a damp cloth after they've gone to sleep.

Christine Chansley of Tacoma, Washington told the McClatchy Tribune she had read all about baby bottle tooth decay and the dangers of allowing her child to fall asleep with a bottle of formula or juice. However, she hadn't heard of the benefits of wiping her daughter's toothless gums.

"I can't see putting my hands in a sleeping baby's mouth," Chansley said.

But that's exactly the kind of dental care babies need, according to Dr Ovidio Penalver, a Washington pediatrician.

"Dental problems can lead to further problems that affect the whole health of a child," Penalver told the news provider.

Past research has also found childhood tooth decay is more prevalent among families who may not be able to afford dental insurance.

According to the American Dental Association, tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease. Besides wiping a baby's toothless gum, parents are urged to brush their child's first tooth with a special toothbrush (made especially for infants) and to avoid sugary snacks and starchy foods.

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