Starting Early Dental Care with your Children is Key to Wellness  

A wet washcloth should be your newborn’s best friend. In fact, oral hygiene should start the day you bring your baby home from the hospital, according to Karla Iyonmahan, D.D.S., who is the new Dentist at the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center’s (GLIIHC) Dental Department.

“Parents should use a washcloth or a finger toothbrush to clean the baby’s mouth,” said Iyonmahan, who is called Dr. I. in the clinic. “Starting oral hygiene early will help to prevent tooth decay and tooth loss in the future.”

Karla Iyonmahan, D.D.S.

Dentist. GLIIHC Dental Department

Your child’s bedtime routine is just as important as their daytime routine, Dr. I. added.

“Babies and toddlers who drink from bottles at bedtime are at risk for tooth decay and early tooth loss, because they expose their teeth to sugars for long periods of time,” she said.

“Bacteria damage teeth with their acids when sugar levels in the mouth are high. Rinsing with water, until toothbrushing can take place, will help to neutralize the acids. Parents, you must assist your younger children (under age 10) with toothbrushing before bedtime,” Dr. I. said.

The food your child eats – whether they are one year old or a teenager – is just as important as brushing and flossing,

“Foods rich in Calcium are essential for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Calcium is also critical for healthy bones, including the jawbone and the other bones of the mouth,” Dr. I. said.

Dr. I. said the internet provides multiple resources for families to access information on maintaining healthy teeth and mouth. Here are a few recommended actions:


  • Brush your teeth as soon as you get out of bed in the morning, and before eating breakfast.
  • Brush your tongue as well, ideally morning, midday and before going to bed.
  • Preventative treatments are critical. This includes dental cleanings, fluoride treatments and dental sealants.

Since arriving at GLIIHC in December, Dr. I. said she has been on a mission: “To educate the community about good oral health and concerns you may have in order to help you make good decisions about your oral health. We understand that oral diseases can affect your quality of life. We also understand that going to the dentist can sometimes be intimidating. This is why we want you to know that we will provide gentle, high-quality dental care and ensure your comfort during all dental visits.”

Karla Iyonmahan, D.D.S.

Dentist, GLIIHC Dental Clinic

Currently, Dr. I. estimated, there are over 100 children awaiting treatment in our community.

To make an appointment please call 414-316-3738 or visit Dental Clinic for more information.