One of the best things that you can do for your new baby is to make sure that you are doing everything you can to ensure that they are healthy and happy, and this should of course include taking care of their teeth and gums. If you make sure to take the extra steps when they are young to protect their teeth that added care can actually affect your child’s dental health for years to come. There are some very simple things that you can do in addition to regular visits to the family dentist in order to start your baby off right in life and help them to build strong dental hygiene habits.
Did you know that when a baby is born, they already have their baby teeth? All 20 of their primary teeth are already there and waiting, just below the gum line when your baby is born. This is why it is important to start promoting healthy teeth and gums immediately, even though the first tooth may not begin to make an appearance through the gum line until they are at least six months old.
You can begin your baby’s dental regimen just a few days after they are born. At this point of course there will not be any teeth present, but you can use a moist piece of gauze or a soft washcloth to wipe your baby’s gums. This will help remove any bacteria in the mouth that starts the process of decay.
As soon as your baby starts teething, this is they time to start encouraging the habit of brushing their teeth every day. At first it may be easier to start with a child size toothbrush and no toothpaste at all until you familiarize them with the habit. Many parents make it a part of their child’s bedtime routine. When you can see teeth that are clearly above the gum line, make sure that you are getting a few good brushes in yourself, but allow your child to hold their toothbrush as well.
Many parents ask when they should start adding toothpaste to their children’s toothbrushes. Pediatric dentists recommend that if your child is under 3 years old that it is okay to begin adding a tinny dab of fluoride toothpaste to their tooth brush. This should be a spot no bigger than a grain of rice. As your child ages, from 3 to 6 years old, you can increase the amount of toothpaste to the size of a pea.
Dentists will remind you that you should also start flossing in between their teeth as soon as they start to have teeth that are touching. This can be a little trickier than encouraging your child to brush their teeth twice a day, so if you find that you are having trouble getting your little one to sit still long enough for a flossing session, talk to your dentist to see what they can recommend in order to make the process a little more fun for you child.