Caring for Baby Teeth: Dental Care Guide

There’s nothing cuter than those toothless grins your baby gives you when they smile in delight. For something so precious, you want to give them a healthy start to a mouth full of strong pearly whites. Dental care should start before your baby pops out their first tooth. I have provided answers to common questions concerning caring for baby teeth in this dental care guide.

baby with toothbrush

How Soon Should You Start Brushing

While your baby may not have any teeth yet, it’s never too early to start practicing proper oral hygiene. Babies develop at different rates and some start teething before others, so it’s important to set the foundation for the teeth that will soon be there. Simply washing the gums with a wet washcloth or gauze wrapped around your finger will be sufficient to wipe away bacteria that can cause problems later.

Once babies begin teething they’ll likely enjoy having their gums massaged with a cool wet washcloth. Likewise, starting early will help ease your little one into brushing their teeth as they get used to having their gums massaged. This is not always the case, however. My two year old still hates getting his teeth brushed!

When Do Babies Begin Getting Their Teethdental chart

The typical age for baby’s first teeth to emerge is around 6 months; though, it’s not uncommon for your baby to get their first tooth after their first birthday. Some babies will show early signs of teething weeks or even months before their first tooth actually appears. The bottom front teeth (lower central incisors) are usually the first teeth to pop up followed by the top front teeth (upper central incisors).

When to Start Caring For Baby Teeth

Once your baby has their first tooth you should start brushing twice a day with a baby toothbrush that has a small head and soft bristles. Babies really don’t need fluoridated toothpaste unless your city doesn’t add fluoride to the water system. A little fluoride is beneficial to ward off tooth decay but in excess it can cause adverse results leading to fluorosis, a condition that weakens the enamel. If you use fluoridated water to prepare your baby’s bottles use fluoride-free toothpaste. If you do use fluoride toothpaste be sure to use just a small dot on the toothbrush.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing your baby for their first oral exam at the sign of their first tooth or, at least, by their first birthday. The sooner your child begins seeing a dentist regularly the better and more comfortable they’ll be with going to the dentist, especially before running into any issues. A pediatric dentist is specialized in treating infants and young children for regular oral care and special needs care.

Teeth Brushing Tipsmom baby brush

Some children have no problems with having their teeth brushed; others, not so much. Here are a few tips you can try if you have a difficult time getting your little one to let you brush their teeth.

Sing a tune – with our daughter I always sang a tune I’d make up about brushing her teeth, which she loved. It made it fun and I was able to get the back of her teeth better when she’d laugh at the silly lines I would make up.

Let them watch you – toddlers love to mimic what parents do so let them watch you brush your teeth. Each time you brush, bring them with you and have them sit and watch what you’re doing.

Choose fun toothbrushes and toothpaste – there are so many fun toddler toothbrushes when you go down the oral hygiene aisle in various colors and characters. Pick one out your child will love and a cool toothpaste for kids. We liked the banana toothbrush, as featured in our most wished for buying guide, which babies can hold on their own to ‘brush’.

Lay them down in your lap – When all else fails, lay them down while you brush. Our dentist told us to do this with our son to ensure his teeth were getting adequately cleaned as he was very stubborn in having his teeth brushed. Have your child lay on your lap with their head facing up towards you while you brush. You may need a second set of hands to hold their arms while you do this, but try not to force them down as this will only scare them and make it that much worse. You may want to have a bowl nearby to let them spit in to avoid choking.

Teaching your toddler the importance of caring for little teeth early on will help them become well on their way to brighter healthy smiles.

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