When your infant’s first tooth pops in, besides the fussiness and sleepless nights, it’s a very exciting milestone to reach for you and your child. Baby teeth may be small, but they’re important. Without a healthy set of baby teeth, your child will have trouble chewing and speaking clearly. This is why it’s important to start dental care at home early.
But, dental care doesn’t start when your child’s first tooth erupts. Whether you are breastfeeding or using formula to feed your child, it is very important to make sure that their entire mouth is clean even without teeth. Caring for your child’s gums is just as important as caring for their teeth when they start coming in. You can use a clean soft moistened washcloth to gently wipe down your infant’s gums twice a day, especially before they go to sleep for the night.
When teeth start erupting, caring for your child’s gums continues, but also care for the teeth begins. Using a small headed soft tooth brush is what we recommend to start with. Start with just a wet toothbrush, and around the age of 1, you may start using a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste with supervision. At that age, children are too young to spit out the toothpaste, use a wet washcloth to wipe out any remaining paste. If your child has tight spaces between their teeth, be sure to floss also!
Besides at home dental care, make sure your child is drinking plenty of water throughout the day and not juice or milk. This will help rinse any sugars off of the teeth during the day and help prevent tooth decay.
And last but not least, make sure you bring your child in to see a pediatric dentist no later than 6 months after the first tooth erupts, which is what the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends! That’s where we come in! We will help your child feel comfortable and build a good future for their dental care. At that first dental visit the Pediatric Dental team will review preventive dental measures and perform the first cleaning and apply the first topical application of fluoride, which makes the teeth more resistant to tooth decay. If you have any questions about scheduling your child’s first dental appointment please give our team a call! Or if you have any questions about early dental care, our team is always available to answer your questions.