Learn How to Keep Your Baby’s Teeth and Gums Healthy
You want to take every step possible to ensure that your baby grows up happy and healthy. However, many new parents don’t know how or when to start on their child’s dental health. In fact, many parents believe that because a toddler’s teeth are temporary, that it’s not terribly important that they’re well taken care of. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The real importance of baby teeth
Your baby’s teeth affect both their chewing and eating habits today, but they can also have a big impact on your child’s future. How? Because the way they learn to speak and make sounds will be affected by their teeth. Teaching them early good oral home habits is also essential to ensuring they continue to have healthy teeth and gums in the future.
Cleaning your baby’s gums before they have teeth
First, let’s discuss how to keep your baby’s gums healthy when they either don’t yet have teeth or their teeth are just beginning to emerge. Take a wet washcloth or gauze, get it wet, and just wipe their gums gently. You don’t need any type of toothpaste at this point, just gauze or a washcloth will do. When you get them in the habit of having this done, it will be much easier to transition into brushing when they’re later. Wiping their gums also helps to keep their mouth clear of bacteria.
Cleaning your baby’s teeth when they’re between a year and 18 months old
When your baby is about a year – year and a half old, then it’s time to start using a baby toothbrush to brush their growing teeth twice daily. You’ll want to use a non-fluoride toothpaste at this point. Choose a toothpaste that’s marketed directly for toddlers / infants. You should also look at the label to doublecheck that there’s no fluoride in it. We do recommend fluoride toothpaste for older children and adults, but for babies it can be dangerous if they swallow too much of it.
We recommend that you brush with them. Do it once in the morning and then again before they go to bed. At this point, you’ll still be brushing for them. Make sure that you’re brushing their tongue in addition to both sides of their teeth. Only use a very small amount of toothpaste, which shouldn’t require the need for rinsing.
Other steps you can take to keep your child’s teeth in good shape
There are several other steps you can take to maximize your child’s oral health. First, hold the bottle when they feed to prevent the milk from pooling in their mouth. Once your child has reached a year old, switch them to water and plain milk between meals because flavored milks and juices have a lot of potentially damaging sugar in them. Once your child is a year old, you should also start them off with yearly or biyearly visits to the family dentist.