Your baby growing their first tooth is one of the first and most exciting milestones of being a parent. All babies are adorable, but let’s face it, there’s nothing cuter than a smiling baby with a few teeth sticking out here and there! Even though their first set of teeth will only be around for a short period of time, taking proper care of them is incredibly important. They are the placeholders for adult teeth that will one day grow in, so they should be treated accordingly. We’re going to cover everything you need to know about your baby’s oral health so you can keep your baby them happy, healthy and smiling!
Start from Day 1
Something a lot of new parents don’t know is that you should begin cleaning your child’s mouth even before their baby teeth grow in! It is so important to keep your baby’s mouth clean especially when they’re teething, because you know they want to put their mouth on anything and everything. To properly clean your baby’s mouth all you have to do is wipe the gums gently with a warm, damp washcloth after each feeding to make sure there is no leftover food stuck in there. Baby teeth typically begin to grow in between 4 and 7 months, so this simple technique will work until then.
When Should I Start Brushing?
When the first few baby teeth begin to grow in you should switch out the washcloth for a toothbrush. Your baby’s first toothbrush should be soft bristled with a small head and a large handle. The large handle is important because it will give you more control when brushing. At first, you can just start off by brushing with warm water, and then gradually work your way up to using a tiny amount of toothpaste.
Until recently the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommended that you do not use toothpaste to clean your child’s teeth until age three, but recent studies have caused them to change their recommendation. They now recommend that you should use “a smear (or roughly the size of a grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste for children from tooth eruption through age 2, and families should increase this to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for children ages 3-6.” They have proven that it is perfectly fine and actually better if you start using toothpaste at a younger age, but if you are still unsure about it you can double check with your dentist!
When Should I Bring My Baby to The Dentist?
Most people don’t bring their kids to the dentist until they are 2-3 years old, which is far too late. The AAP recommends that you should bring your baby in for their first dental checkup as early as 6 months, and at the latest their first birthday. Like we mentioned before, baby teeth are the placeholders for adult teeth, so it is better to be safe than sorry, and check with a professional to make sure everything is running smoothly from the beginning!
Parents should brush their kid’s teeth for them until they are about 6 years old. When your child starts to be able to do other things on their own, for example, tie their own shoes, they should be able to brush their own teeth. But while they’re still getting used to doing it on their own you should supervise them to make sure they spit everything out when they are through.
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