Dental Care for Babies: Getting oral hygiene off to a healthy start!
August 11, 2020
GUM CARE IN INFANTS
While most infants don’t start getting teeth until they are about 6 months old, oral health care is important to get started early. This will set a foundation for great oral hygiene in the future. Starting early on, use a clean, soft wet washcloth to clean a baby’s gums 2 times a day, after the first feeding, and right before bed to clean out any bacteria or debris that might be lingering in the mouth. They might fuss at first, but they will get used to it quickly and this will help you in the future once it is time to start brushing their teeth!
WHAT TO DO WITH EMERGING TEETH
Teething is uncomfortable. Sometimes a cool, refrigerated teething ring can help. This will be very soothing and help with any discomfort. Baby teeth should be cleaned as soon as they erupt (break through the skin making them visible to the eye.). Use a clean, wet washcloth to clean the tooth after every meal. Once there are multiple teeth visible, you can switch to a soft, small bristled, child-sized toothbrush and water. Brush their teeth in the morning and at night before bed to make sure they don’t have any built-up bacteria. As soon as they are coordinated enough, encourage them to brush their own teeth with your assistance.
TODDLER DENTAL CARE
Continue to brush their teeth morning and night and use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste once they reach approximately 2 years old or once they are able to brush without swallowing the toothpaste. Be on the lookout for cavities. They are common in children of all ages and are possible for them to start getting not long after their teeth coming in, this is a good time to start taking them to the dentist for regular check-ups.
Feeding healthy, tooth-friendly foods at an early age can also help set them up for success. We all know toddlers can be picky eaters, but don’t give up. Try serving vegetables in a variety of ways. Consider serving milk with meals to help curb anything acidic that they might be consuming. Try to keep their processed sugar consumption low, and fruits, vegetables, and water high. This helps everyone’s oral hygiene, including young children.
LOSING BABY TEETH
Children generally start losing teeth anywhere between the ages of 4 and 7 and for some, can last into their teens. Encourage your child to wiggle the loose tooth, but don’t pull on it. Pulling on the tooth before it is ready can cause little tears in the root which increases the risk of infection. After the tooth is removed, have them rinse their mouth with a saltwater solution to clean the area. Press a clean washcloth or gauze gently where the tooth was removed. If they are experiencing any discomfort you can apply a cold, wet cloth to the area.
The easiest way to make sure that your children have great oral hygiene is to start early and model good habits. This will ensure they have the greatest oral health and will help them instill important habits into their daily routine as they get older.
Park Crossing Dentistry offers a full range of services, including pediatric dentistry, in the Charlotte North Carolina area. If you have a young one who needs care, give us a call. We would love to serve you and your family.