The Why And The How
Whether they’re an early teether or it takes a long time for those pearly whites to start coming in, it’s important to start taking care of your baby’s new teeth as soon as they make an appearance. Even though they’re temporary, baby teeth serve several important purposes. They serve as placeholders for adult teeth, helping the gums and jaw develop and grow normally so that their permanent teeth can fit. They help your baby form sounds and speak coherently. And most importantly, they make it so your baby (and later toddler) can effectively chew and swallow their food.
We can’t overstate the importance of keeping your baby’s teeth clean and healthy. Aside from all the benefits listed above, starting regular care at an early age will help establish good habits that are more likely to last a lifetime.
Starting Early With Gum Care
Just because your newborn doesn’t have teeth doesn’t mean you can’t start taking care of their gums early. In fact, gum care is often overlooked throughout life – from childhood to adulthood. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t vital to oral and even overall health!
You can start taking care of your new baby’s gums by gently wiping them down with a clean, soft washcloth after feedings and before bedtime. This will help prevent plaque from building up and will get them used to having an oral care routine.
Caring For The First Teeth
Once your baby’s teeth start to appear, they can graduate to using a toothbrush! (Or rather, they can graduate to you using a toothbrush for them.) We recommend that you choose a child’s toothbrush that has a small head, soft bristles, and a large, easily grab-able handle. As more and more teeth start to come in, you can use a very small amount of kids’ toothpaste. By age three, you can generally put a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (with fluoride) on the toothbrush and help them as they try to brush their teeth themselves. Most children are able to brush, spit, and rinse by the time they reach age 6 or so.
It’s important for your child to have regular pediatric dental care in order to avoid tooth decay and other issues. We recommend that all children see a dentist before they reach a year old so that both you and your child can have guidance as they form good habits.
Have questions or would like to schedule an appointment? You can get in touch with us by calling (307) 635-8091!