This post was written by our Peoria Community Outreach Coordinator, Kristy Haare.
Your baby will surely look more adorable as his or her tiny little teeth start to come in. As a parent, it is important for you to take proper care of their teeth. It's very important to know that you must begin caring for your infant’s teeth from birth, before teething.
Tips For a Healthy Dental Start
Cleaning your baby’s gums before the arrival of teeth is vital. This develops into a daily routine and helps easy transition into brushing later on. It is impossible to detect when dental decay can occur, so starting early oral hygiene is often the best prevention.
- Make sure your baby’s gums are kept clean. Gently wipe your baby’s gums with a wet soft cloth before arrival of teeth at least once a day. If possible, wipe them after every feeding and before bedtime. This helps to wipe off any bacteria and prevent the clinging of food to the gums.
- Once your baby has developed teeth, try not to put him/her to bed by breastfeeding or with a bottle. This is bad for your baby’s teeth. If put your baby is put to sleep with a bottle, the breast-milk or formula may collect in the mouth, causing plaque buildup and tooth decay at an early age.
- When you see primary teeth start using a toothbrush, especially those designed for babies. A baby brush comes with a small head, soft bristles and a large handle to make it easy for the babies to hold it.
How to Brush Baby Teeth
At one year, you can start brushing your baby’s teeth using toothpaste. Squeeze a rice-sized amount of toothpaste and gently brush them with a soft toothbrush. (You can start using a pea-sized amount at age two). Using small and gentle circular movements, brush your baby’s teeth concentrating on the areas where the gums and the teeth meet. Make sure you brush your baby’s teeth gently as the gums are tender during teething and may get hurt due to vigorous brushing.
Using fluoride toothpaste is important, as it will help prevent tooth decay. Your doctor will tell you what concentration of fluoride is appropriate for baby teeth, because you don't want to give your baby too much fluoride. In the beginning, use a rice-sized amount of toothpaste, so that your baby is not repelled by the taste. You should feel free to experiment with different kinds of infant toothpaste. Stick to the paste your infant seems to respond to the best, as long as it is doctor and ADA approved.
Follow a brushing schedule to ensure your baby’s teeth are well taken care of. Make sure that you brush your baby’s teeth before bed. Do not give your baby anything sweet to eat right before bed, especially when your baby is teething. This will cause tooth pain, which might add to the teething pain too.
Baby’s First Dental Visit
It's important to find your baby's "dental home" by their first birthday. You should schedule their first dental visit with the appearance of their first tooth. This will help you know if everything is alright with your baby’s teeth. Your baby should have his or her teeth looked at, at least twice a year following the first visit.
Click here to schedule your baby’s first dental visit at a local Familia Dental office.