You can never start too early when it comes to dental care for your baby’s teeth. With dental problems plaguing children across America, there are some simple things that you can do to start your child off right. I’ve put together some tips here for taking care of your baby’s teeth along with some do’s and don’ts. I hope that this helps you to get off on the right foot when it comes to your baby’s oral health.
It’s never too early to start cleaning your baby’s mouth. You can start by wiping down his or her gums after each feeding. A warm and wet washcloth can work fine, or you may want to purchase a little rubber finger device with soft bristles that will allow you to massage and clean the gums. All of this can take place before your baby starts teething.
Don’t Put Your Baby To Bed With A Bottle
One way to foster an environment for cavities is to put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Once the teeth come in, it will be important to brush the teeth after each feeding. When you put your child to bed with a bottle, you are creating the perfect setting for cavities to start forming. Try to let your baby feed before bed, and then brush his or her teeth.
How To Brush Your Baby’s Teeth
Make sure that your baby is in a good position so that you can see all of his or her mouth sections. Use a soft toothbrush and move it up and down the inside of your baby’s mouth as you gently scrub the teeth. In addition to the teeth, make sure to gently rub the tongue and also the back of the teeth.
Be A Good Role Model
Almost everything that your baby has learned to do up to this point has been by watching you. Your child learned to speak by first listening to you speak. You may have already noticed that you constantly have a set of eyes watching your every move. Because of this, you will have a great opportunity to model good dental practices. Allow your baby to watch you brush your teeth. Make it fun and show how you put the toothpaste on your toothbrush and then brush your teeth. Depending on how brave you are, you may even let your baby help to hold your toothbrush and brush your own teeth. Then when you are finished brushing your teeth, brush your baby’s teeth.
Songs and Games Can Make Brushing Fun
Don’t be afraid to go all out when it comes to dental care and your baby. When my child was young, we enjoyed using the toothbrushes that played a tune. My daughter learned to brush her teeth at the minimum as long as the song played. Have fun with buying colorful toothbrushes and letting your child put their own toothpaste on the brush. Sing silly songs and let him or her look in the mirror as they brush their teeth. Make toothbrushing time an enjoyable experience that you do together.
Use Lots of Positive Encouragement
A timely word of encouragement directed at your child can go a long ways towards fostering a behavior that you want to see. Make sure to tell your baby when he does a good job at opening his mouth so that you can brush his gums or teeth.
When Does Teething Start?
Teething normally begins around six months of age. However, it is normal to start teething anywhere between 3 months to 1 year of age. Expect your child to have all of their primary teeth by three years of age. When teething starts, you may notice that your baby wants to bite at objects. This is a good time to offer a soft and safe teething toy such as a soft teething ring. A cool washcloth often helps to alleviate some of the pain that teething brings.
When your baby’s first tooth emerges, it is a good time to start using fluoride toothpaste according to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Start by using a small bit of toothpaste about the size of a rice grain when your baby is a toddler. By age 3, you can start applying a pea-sized smear.
Watch The Juice
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, juice has no nutritional value for babies under one year of age. It is recommended that they do not consume juice at all that first year. At any age, juice or sugary drinks may increase your child’s risk for cavities. It’s really best to skip the juice altogether. However, if you insist on giving your child some juice, make sure to brush their teeth immediately following when they drink it. One of the worst practices is to allow a child to carry around a sippy cup all day filled with juice or a sugary drink. Think of a juice filled sippy cup as a sugar bath that invites cavities to form easily.
It’s never too early to start taking care of your baby’s teeth. Good dental habits can even start before their baby teeth start coming in. Start by gently brushing your baby’s gums with a washcloth. Keep it fun and offer lots of encouragement when your child wants to start helping to take care of his or her teeth.
Expect teething to happen around six months of age, though some babies start as young as three months while others don’t start until 12 months. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends starting fluoride toothpaste when the first tooth emerges. In addition to things you should do, there are some things that you shouldn’t do to promote good oral health. Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle and don’t give juice to your baby before one year of age. I hope that these tips have helped to shed light on how you can start taking care of your baby’s teeth.