Having a child is an exciting and thrilling time. There is so much to consider, from choosing the a crib to starting a savings plan for your child’s college. One thing that’s easily overlooked is your baby’s oral health.
Here are some important things you need to know about the dental health of your baby.
A baby’s primary teeth, commonly called “baby teeth,” are already in their jaws at birth. Generally, the baby teeth will begin to break through the gums when a baby is between 6 months and 1 year old.
Teething refers to the process of your baby’s teeth breaking through the gums. There are many common signs that indicate your baby is teething, including:
- Excessive drooling
- Rashes caused by drool (usually around the mouth and on the chin)
- Irritability (due to soreness)
- Biting (to counteract the pressure of the teeth pushing through the gums)
- Refusing to eat
- Night waking
Most babies will have their full 20 primary teeth by age 3.
When Should I Start Cleaning My Baby’s Teeth?
The American Dental Association recommends cleaning your baby’s gums almost immediately, starting only a few days after birth. Use a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth and gently wipe your baby’s gums twice a day. Make sure to clean their gums after feedings and before bedtime.
As soon as your baby’s teeth begin to appear, begin using a toothbrush and toothpaste; all teeth are prone to tooth decay. Use a soft, small toothbrush with a large handle you can easily work with; there are toothbrushes made specifically for babies.
Use only a smear of toothpaste, no bigger than a grain of rice. Gently brush your baby’s teeth and cover all surfaces, including the back teeth.
Once your child reaches the age of 3, you can increase the amount of toothpaste to the size of a pea. However, make sure you use fluoride toothpaste, providing its enamel-strengthening benefits.
Until your child can effectively brush their own teeth, continue brushing their teeth yourself. Generally, children can be trusted to brush their teeth without swallowing the toothpaste around age 6. Once your baby has teeth that are touching, you should start flossing their teeth every day.
First Visit to the Dentist
Your baby’s first dental appointment should occur by their first birthday. If your baby’s teeth come in earlier, visit the dentist within 6 months of the first tooth appearing.
The dentist will examine your baby’s teeth, check for any problems, and provide expert advice on how to care for your child’s teeth.
The best way to instill good dental habits in your child is by your example. Brush and floss your teeth with your child, showing them the importance of good dental care.
You can sing or play a song for 2 minutes to help them understand how long they should brush their teeth.
A way to get them excited about brushing their teeth is by letting them choose a fun toothbrush and their favorite-flavored toothpaste. Make sure the bristles are soft and that the toothpaste contains fluoride.
Dental health is important for everyone, including babies. For more information or to schedule a dental appointment, contact Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas. We are dedicated to providing you and your loved ones with the best dental care.