17 Oct Caring for Your Baby’s Teeth, Part 2
If you read our last blog post, you’re already aware of how essential it is to take care of your baby’s teeth for optimal health of their entire being. At Lifetime Family Dental, we do general dentistry in Gilbert, AZ well. Using up-to-date technology and a great chairside manner, our goal is to provide you with everything you and your family need to sustain strong, white teeth for a lifetime. So if you’re wondering how to care for your baby’s teeth, read on to find out!
How Do I Care for My Baby’s Teeth?
—Easy does it at the beginning. Before your baby’s first tooth has come in, gently wiping their gums with a soft cloth or pad helps to keep their mouth clean.
—Brush their teeth. There are differing opinions on when to begin using toothpaste and a toothbrush. The general rule of thumb is to begin brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as the first one comes in. Initially, use a soft-bristled baby toothbrush or even a soft cloth to apply a small amount of toothpaste. For a child under 3 years of age, The American Dental Association recommends using an amount of fluoride toothpaste equivalent to a grain of rice. For children older than 3, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
—Brush at least once a day, preferably at night before putting your child to bed. Brushing twice daily is even better. Your child won’t be able to brush their own teeth effectively until they are around age 7 or 8, so you’ll need to help them.
—And yes, FLOSS. When your toddler has grown two teeth that touch each other, be sure to begin cleaning between the teeth, using floss. Again, you’ll need to help them. Flossing on their own may not happen until they’re around age 10.
—Schedule a dental visit. Between the time your baby’s first tooth appears and their first birthday, schedule their first dental visit with our office. We’ll take a look at their teeth, check for plaque or decay, and confirm they’re healthy. If you happen to notice any discoloration in your child’s teeth, don’t wait. Bring your child into our offices immediately, since that could indicate the formation of a cavity.
—Feed your baby healthy foods. One guide released by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research makes these recommendations for young children:
—Choose foods without a lot of sugar. Save cookies and sugary treats for special occasions only.
—If a child needs a snack, give them fresh fruits or vegetables.
—As for liquids, don’t give them a lot of sugary drinks, and that includes fruit juices that are high in sugar content or acids—like orange juice or apple juice. Even milk has natural sugars in it, so watch how long milk and other liquids stay on your child’s teeth.
—And at night, don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle, unless it’s filled with water. Falling to sleep with a mouthful of juice or milk can create bad bacteria or plaque and lead to tooth decay and pain for your baby or toddler.
—As for that bottle (or sippy cup), don’t let your toddler walk around and drink liquids between feedings. The prolonged exposure of food or liquid on their teeth can contribute to dental cavities.
Dental sealants and fluoride treatment are two options to help keep your children’s teeth their healthiest. If you’d like to know more about these two preventative measures, feel free to talk to us about them. We’ve been practicing general dentistry in Gilbert, AZ for a while now, and we would love to see your children get a strong foundation of dental care that will give their oral health a solid start. At Lifetime Family Dental, we care about seeing your family’s teeth stay healthy and beautiful for a lifetime.