Good dental health care starts with a solid foundation. This means you should start thinking about the health of your baby’s teeth and gums right from the beginning.
Parents may wonder why they need to think about dental care before their baby’s teeth have even arrived, but that is a great time to start good habits. Using a soft, clean washcloth on your baby’s gums twice a day before teeth have erupted will get your baby used to having his teeth cleaned.
Sometime between 3-9 months your baby will begin to get teeth starting with the lower two front incisors and then the top two incisors. The time that teeth begin to erupt varies from child to child. When they do, you can begin to brush your baby’s teeth twice a day with a soft, infant toothbrush.
When your baby begins teething you can offer a soft, cold gel teething ring or use your finger as pressure on the gums to relieve associated pain.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you bring your child to the dentist when the first teeth arrive. Between 6-12 months is a great time for the first visit.
Prevention is the best policy when it comes to keeping your baby’s teeth healthy. Following are some tips to help your baby get off to a good start with a healthy smile.
- Do not let your baby fall asleep with a bottle that contains anything but water.
- Babies should never drink juice or worse, soda, from a bottle. Only formula, breast milk and water should be given in a bottle.
- Be aware of potential dangers to your child’s teeth. Babies who are becoming mobile or beginning to walk should be watched carefully so they don’t fall and bump their teeth on an object.
- Sucking is a natural habit for babies but children over two should start to wean off of a pacifier thumb or other favorite sucking object.
If a baby’s teeth begin to decay, become infected or are lost early it could have long lasting effects. New teeth could come in improperly or exhibit other problems such as weakness and staining.
Starting dental care early and regularly will ensure that your baby will have a healthy foundation for a great smile.