When you have a baby, most of the time you are not thinking about the future of their teeth. But, did you know that in order to help your child have good oral hygiene later, baby dental care starts before they even grow in their first pearly white? Having a healthy mouth all begins with your child’s gums as a baby.
Taking preventative care of your baby’s oral health will help:
- Provide proper growth and alignment of the teeth
- Prevent future problems with chewing or speaking
- Create overall better dental hygiene into adolescence and adulthood
Even before your child begins to develop his or her first tooth, it is important to keep the mouth clean to stop bacteria from clinging to the gums. This is why it is suggested to wipe your baby’s gums and mouth thoroughly with a wet washcloth at least twice a day, especially after feedings and before bedtime.
Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth
Once your baby starts to grow teeth, you can trade in the washcloth for a toothbrush. Your baby’s toothbrush should have a:
- Soft brush
- Small head
- Large handle
Initially, just water can be used to brush your baby’s teeth. As they grow more teeth, you can slowly use a very small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a grain), and gradually increase the amount to the size of a pea when your child develops into a toddler. Once your child is able to hold the toothbrush properly, you can allow them to brush their own teeth; however, they should be supervised until they are at least six years old and know how to brush safely and effectively.
In addition to teaching your child proper oral hygiene and care, the following factors can affect the overall quality and growth of your child’s teeth:
- Pacifier use
- Bottle use
Although many children will pick up one or more of the above habits, it is important to have them refrain to doing them prevent future problems from occurring. These behavior patterns may lead to tooth decay, change of the roof of the mouth, and misalignment of the teeth. In addition, avoid giving your child sugary drinks, such as fruit juices and sodas.
It is best to only fill your baby’s bottle with:
- Breast milk
During your baby’s first dental visit, which is recommended at age one, you can receive more advice about how to properly provide your baby with healthy dental care.
To learn about how to better care for your child’s teeth, Dr. Sands can provide you with all the information you need. You can schedule an appointment by calling (310) 273-0111 or by filling out our online contact form.