Congratulations! The miracle of a new baby is incredible. Now it's time to start preparing for your baby's first tooth. We have some helpful guidelines for starting your little boy or girl on their way to a lifetime of healthy teeth.
Your baby's gums will benefit from these helpful tips long before that first tooth appears. Immediately following breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, gently rub your baby's gum tissue with a clean, dampened cloth or a gauze square. Making this a habit will establish good daily oral care routines.
When that first tooth appears, it is time to introduce your baby to their first toothbrush. For now, we do not recommend using toothpaste. Wet the toothbrush with water before brushing. If you have been wiping their gums with a wet cloth or gauze, your baby probably will accept the toothbrush. If not, go back to using the washcloth for a few weeks before switching to the toothbrush.
As the teething stage continues, babies like to chew on many different things. Providing a baby toothbrush to a teether is the perfect solution during this phase.
As more teeth present, you can begin using a tiny amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush. At this point, only apply a tiny amount of toothpaste - about the size of a grain of rice. Teach your child to spit out the toothpaste following the brushing as soon as possible.
The biggest culprit when it comes to cavities is sweetened liquids. Sugary drinks or soda need to stay far away from young children. Even fruit juice, milk (including breast milk), and formula can cause tooth decay. It is vital to practice regular health gum and teeth cleaning.
Also, your young child should never go to bed with a bottle that has anything sweet. The sugar in the drink will stay in contact with the teeth for a long time, which is a prescription for tooth decay. We even have a term for this type of decay - baby-bottle caries.
It is an excellent habit-forming practice to bring your toddler to the dentist within the first six months of the first tooth's presentation - most commonly around their first birthday. Tooth decay can present itself even in the tiniest of teeth. Get in front of the problems by bringing your little one to us at about that time.
We will inspect their teeth for any signs of problems with your baby's oral health. We'll also talk with you about caring for those tiny teeth. Before each visit to the dentist, prepare the child with a positive attitude so they look forward to regular checkups.
As we all know, our children are excellent mimics. You can use this mimicking "superpower" to your advantage. Brush and floss every day with your child by your side. They will learn the importance of good oral hygiene at an early age. Good habits are best when set at an early age.
Provide a children's toothbrush as soon as your little one expresses interest. Encourage them to "brush" along with you. Toothbrushes designed especially for little hands are available just for this reason. While most younger children don't have the physical dexterity that enables them to clean their teeth, this will establish a lifelong habit of consistent oral care. You will have to volunteer to help them out in their younger years.
Make the process more fun if your youngster does not seem to be climbing aboard the tooth care train. You could try different flavored toothpaste, fun toothbrushes sporting their favorite character, or make a game of brushing their teeth, such as brushing to the rhythm of their favorite songs.
The overall goal is to establish good oral hygiene when the child is young, so they practice it their whole life. This will set your child on a lifetime of bright smiles and healthy teeth.