It’s never too soon to start thinking about your baby’s oral health. From an early age, parents teach their babies how to eat, speak, and walk, but some parents don’t realize just how important taking care of a baby’s teeth is! In fact, parents who teach their children oral hygiene basics while they are young, have a better chance of their children having good oral health for life.
Not sure where you should get started? Let’s explore how you can get started on your baby’s dental care routine!
Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, the gums can benefit from your careful attention. Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin cleaning between their teeth daily!
For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth, as soon as they appear, with fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush their teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night). If your child needs extra fluoride, your dentist may recommend a supplement or a gel to apply.
Bottle Decay? No Way
Bottles boost tooth decay. Milk has lactose which is a type of sugar.
While milk should remain an important part of your child's diet, it should be consumed through a cup or straw instead of a bottle. When sucked from a bottle, the sugar and acid in milk will stay longer on a baby’s teeth, which could lead to cavities. Letting a baby go to sleep with a bottle is especially bad because your body makes less saliva, which helps to wash away food particles, while asleep.
Take a trip to the dentist
The American Dental Association recommends that your infant see the dentist between the eruption of their first tooth and the infant’s first birthday. The baby teeth will typically emerge between 6 months to a year. Allowing children to become accustomed to regular dental care while they are young will set them up for life!
Give your child nutritious foods to maintain healthy gums, develop strong teeth, and avoid tooth decay. These include whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Try to avoid foods that are high in sugar and processed carbohydrates, such as pastries, pasta, and white bread.
Try different tactics to make oral care fun such as singing songs about brushing and reap the rewards! The primary goal is to instill healthy oral habits at an early age to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy, and cavity-free teeth!