October 1, 2023
The first thing you can do is clean your baby’s mouth before their teeth come in. “What will this do?” you ask. Breast milk and infant formula both have sugars in them, cleaning your baby’s gums after a feeding will help give your child the best track to a healthy smile. After a feeding it is recommended to take a soft washcloth or and infant tooth brush with WATER ONLY and wipe their gums clean. This will also prepare them for when their teeth start coming in so they can get used to having their teeth brushed. Another bonus, it may be soothing for your baby when their teeth are trying to erupt.
Your baby may start sprouting teeth as early as four months, but it probably wont be until they are at least 6 months old. As soon as your little one’s first tooth appears it is important to take care of it. Taking care of baby teeth is very important for the health of your child’s adult teeth; they help with spacing and help them to chew and to talk. Worst-case scenario, if your child’s baby teeth aren’t taken care of it can lead to decay and infections. When that first tooth starts to come in parents need to get a children’s toothbrush with soft bristles and brush their new teeth for at least 2 minutes twice daily. “Should I be using toothpaste?” The answer to that is yes. The American Dental Association recommends using children’s fluoride toothpaste, but only using an amount about the size of a grain of rice, that doesn’t seem like a lot, but their teeth are so tiny and they may only have a couple. If you want more information about when your baby should be getting their first tooth, take a look at one of our earlier post on Primary Tooth Eruption and Loss.
Another important thing that parents don’t think about is the amount of fluoride your baby is getting. Depending on whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding it is important to know what your baby’s source of fluoride is coming from. If there is no fluoride in your drinking water you may want to ask your dentist or your baby’s doctor about supplementing, which you typically don’t start until your baby is 6 months old. Your baby will only need supplementation if your tap water does not have a natural or added amount of fluoride. You can find this out by contacting your water company. Fluoride is an important component to your baby’s oral health. For more information about fluoride visit our post What Is Fluoride?
By your baby’s first birthday make sure you have their first dental appointment scheduled. This important to make sure their teeth are coming in okay and their dentist can give you more information on how to better take care of their baby teeth.
Taking care of your baby’s gums and teeth is very important for the future of their oral health. It will lead to healthy habits down the road, and the sooner you get them used to it, the easier it is as they get older. For more information, check out the sources below.