Mommy Guide: Baby and Toddler Dental Care Tips
At birth the baby already has 20 milk teeth in the jaw and they usually begin to grow through the gums at the age of 4 to 6 months. Most children already have 20 milk teeth by the age of 3. Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, but it can also be prevented by having a few healthy habits. The most common cause of tooth decay in young children is frequent long-term exposure of the teeth to sugary drinks and poor brushing.
Start before baby's teeth come in
- For the first few days, start brushing your baby's mouth by gentle massage their gums with an infant toothbrush after each feeding or with a warm, wet washcloth wrapped around your finger..
- When your baby's teeth start to grow by the age of 3, gently brush twice a day with a baby's toothbrush and a very small amount of rice fluoride toothpaste.
Once they come take care of them right away
- Many parents think baby teeth aren't important because they are eventually replaced by permanent ones. But these first teeth preserve the spacing for the permanent ones and help Baby chew and talk. If they're not cared for properly they can decay, leading to a gum infection called gingivitis, which can affect the spacing of permanent teeth.
Schedule a dental checkup
- Be sure to visit your dentist regularly. Your child should first visit the dentist at about one year of age or when their first tooth appears. It also allows you to discuss any other concerns you may have with your child's oral care.
Let go of pacifier by age of 2
There are lots of good reasons to let your child use a pacifier, but in the long term it can affect how his teeth line up. It can also change the shape of the mouth.
Make brushing a habit
- When your baby's teeth appear, brush twice a day with an infant toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. Start flossing when two of his teeth touch each other. Ask your dentist about techniques and schedules.
- Brush and floss just before bedtime. After that, don't give your child any food or drink, except water, until the next morning.
Stay away from cavities - less juice, more water
- Putting Baby to bed with a bottle of milk (or worse, juice) is notorious for causing cavities.
- Don't leave your infant with a bottle for long periods of time, especially if you notice he's no longer feeding and is just using the bottle for comfort.
- If you must give your child a bottle to take to bed, make sure it contains only water.
- Too much juice can cause teeth to decay faster, so limiting this early on is a smart idea. When you do give your child juice, dilute it with water.