Caring for and protecting your children’s teeth begins at a very young age. As soon as teeth appear, they are at risk for decay. The good news is that with proper oral care, tooth decay can be prevented, paving the way for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Why Care for Your Baby’s Teeth?
Baby teeth are temporary, and will eventually be replaced with larger, permanent teeth, so you may be wondering why it is so important to ensure your baby’s teeth and gums are clean and free of decay. Here are just some of the reasons why caring for your baby’s teeth are important.
- Tooth decay may compromise your child’s immune system: Infection and inflammation associated with tooth decay is painful, and there is an evident link between oral health and your child’s wellbeing. Keep their mouth free of decay, and they will face fewer health risks.
- Removing baby teeth may cause orthodontic problems later on: Some infants and toddlers experience decay so severe, their teeth must be removed. The gaps created by removing baby teeth too early may cause adult teeth to emerge crooked.
- It’s never too early to start teaching your children good oral hygiene: Kids that grow up learning healthy habits are much more likely to continue those habits as they grow older. Make oral hygiene a priority, and your kids will, too.
How to Clean Your Baby’s Teeth
You can begin cleaning your baby’s mouth and gums a few days after birth. After feeding, gently wipe the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad.
Once the first teeth appear, at about six months of age, you can start brushing them with a toothbrush. Use a soft, child-size toothbrush and a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). Gently brush the front, back, and chewing surface of each tooth twice a day. Once your child has two teeth touching each other, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.
Children can begin brushing on their own around age four, but parents should always monitor and assist their child to ensure that all surfaces have been covered. Teach your children how to spit out toothpaste rather than swallow it.
To prevent tooth decay, parents should supervise brushing until children are 10+ years old.
Don’t Forget to Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Schedule your baby’s first dental visit as soon as their first tooth appears. Not only does this allow your dentist to examine your child’s mouth and check for issues, it will help your child get comfortable with dental visits. After the first visit, your child should see the dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups.
Your child is never too young to start practicing good oral hygiene. Call our dental office today to start your little one on a path toward a lifetime of healthy and beautiful smiles.