Caring for Baby Teeth
Caring for your baby’s teeth is all about practice and prevention. There are steps you can take, even before the first tooth erupts, to ensure a childhood free from most oral health problems and a lifetime of happy smiles.
Young Infants: Before the First Tooth
Even before that first tooth comes in, you should gently wipe gums with a damp washcloth or gauze after breast or bottle-feeding. This cleans food debris from the mouth and sets the stage for good brushing habits later on.
The First Tooth: Time to Start Brushing
Once the first tooth erupts, it’s time to start brushing with a gentle baby toothbrush and water. If your baby doesn’t like the feel of the brush, you can switch back to a washcloth for a few weeks and try to introduce the brush again at a later time.
A Few Teeth More: Introducing Toothpaste
As more teeth start to appear, you can begin using toothpaste. Start with just a smear of non-fluoride baby toothpaste (ask us for clearance before using a fluoride toothpaste, usually after your toddler can spit) and brush for two minutes, encouraging baby to spit. Allow your baby to help in the process to build skills, but be sure that the bulk of the brushing is done by you.
When should my child first visit the dentist?
When the first tooth arrives, or at his or her first birthday, whichever occurs first.
Practice and Example Setting
- Don’t let baby go to sleep with a bottle in the mouth.
- Avoid sugary beverages in your house, and limit sweets, candies and treats.
- Brush twice and floss once daily yourself to set a good example.
- Make brushing a fun part of the nighttime routine with music or games together.
- Try not to skip brushing, as this sends the wrong signal early on that oral health isn’t important.
Most oral health problems are preventable. If you set up good habits starting in infancy, your child will go through life assuming that teeth are important! If you have any questions about your baby’s teeth, please don’t hesitate to call us, Teeth R US Children’s Dentistry, at Plano Office Phone Number 972-820-2022.