You can help your child’s dental health from the very beginning. But you need to know just how to do that.
These dental health tips can help your baby get off to their best start.
Begin at the beginning
Taking care of your child’s dental health starts even before their first baby teeth. According to the American Dental Association, “Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.”
Regular brushing matters
Before your baby learns to brush their own teeth, you can do it for them. Use a soft brush with a small head and large handle.
“At first, just wet the toothbrush. As soon as teeth erupt, you can start using toothpaste in the amount of a grain of rice. You can increase this to a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when your child is age 3. Brush gently all around your child’s baby teeth — front and back,” according to WebMD.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your toddler’s teeth thoroughly twice a day.
Continue brushing your child’s teeth and be sure to get them started with dental checkups. WebMD recommends a first checkup by age 1.
“You should brush your baby’s teeth until he or she is old enough to hold the brush. Continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance. That usually happens at around age 6. Keep on the lookout for any signs of baby tooth decay — brown or white spots or pits on the teeth. If you or your pediatrician notices any problems, take your child to a pediatric dentist for an exam,” according to WebMD.