5 Things to Know About Taking Care of Baby Teeth
Did you know, even though baby teeth are temporary they can still get painful cavities that affect eating, sleeping and learning behavior? To help your child get strong healthy teeth we compiled five of the most important things to know about taking care of baby teeth:
Right at birth use a soft washcloth or an infant toothbrush and water to clean your child’s gums. The habit makes tooth brushing easier because baby gets used to you working in his or her mouth.
Use only non-fluoridated toothpaste until ages 2-3. Then use a pea sized amount of regular toothpaste and supervise your child until they can be counted on to spit and not swallow toothpaste, usually around ages 6-7.
Lift your baby’s top lip at least once a month to check for brown/black spots along the gum line, this is one of the most common places baby tooth decay occurs.
Begin flossing when the first two teeth touch, usually around 4 or 5 months.
Cavity-causing germs can be passed on from mother to baby by kissing on the mouth, tasting their food, or putting a pacifier in an adult’s mouth. So taking care of your teeth and mouth can actually protect your baby’s teeth longer.
When Should You Bring Your Child In For a First Visit?
Did you know that your child should visit a dentist when their first tooth comes in? Usually between six and twelve months of age. Not only does this start building a positive relationship between your child and their dental team, but early examination and preventive care will help build good dental and hygiene habits that will protect your child’s teeth in the future.
On your baby’s first visit, it is our priority to make your child feel happy and comfortable. Our specially trained staff will let your child see how all the instruments work, ride the chair, and pick a toy, and as part of the Free Under Three program, where children aged three and under receive their first dental visit completely free!
Soothers, Bottles, and Thumbs
Did you know that there a few simple ways to reduce the oral health risks caused by soothers, bottles, and thumb sucking? “Baby bottle tooth decay” is when the upper front teeth get cavities and decay, caused by teeth being repeatedly exposed to sugary drinks (such as juice or pop) through a sippy cup, bottle or pacifier dipped in sugar or honey.
You can prevent baby bottle tooth decay by taking a few simple precautions:
- Never put your baby to bed with a bottle, unless it contains only water
- Don’t put juice, pop or sweet drinks in a bottle or sippy cup
- Children should not fall asleep with a bottle
- Don’t dip pacifiers in sugar or honey
Sucking is a normal reflex for infants, but with prolonged thumb or soother sucking, your child is at risk of developing crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. Discourage your child to stop sucking their thumb as soon as possible, if it persists, your dentist can suggest ways to manage a prolonged thumb sucking habit.