It’s never too early to start caring for your baby’s teeth! Taking care of a baby’s teeth requires more than just brushing, so it’s important to understand the detailed steps involved in promoting oral health. Nurturing and caring for a baby’s teeth is essential to ensure healthy development and growth. Did you know oral health affects your child’s appearance? As teeth are an external part of the body, they play a big role in how your child’s face looks. Poor oral health can lead to staining, sensitivity, and even tooth loss. By starting to care for your baby’s teeth early, you can help your child avoid these issues.
From the very first tooth to the full set, there are several steps parents need to take to ensure their baby’s oral health is of the highest standards. In this article, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to properly care for a baby’s teeth, from the time the first tooth appears until the baby has a full set of teeth. We’ll also discuss the importance of regular dental visits and provide tips on how to make sure your baby’s teeth stay healthy and strong. So, let’s get started!
1. Practice Oral Health Before Teeth Appear
Even before your baby’s first teeth appear, it’s important to practice oral care. Wipe their gums with a damp cloth or gauze after each feeding to remove any bacteria and food particles that may remain in their mouth. You can also use a soft-bristled infant toothbrush to gently brush the gums. It’s easy to make DIY infant toothpaste by mixing baking soda and water. Before each use, check that the bristles are soft enough to be gentle on your baby’s gums. This extra hygiene helps remove the sugar from gums which can promote tooth decay.
While your baby’s teeth are forming, parents should be careful about what they allow the baby to consume. Teeth and bones need nutrients even before they appear, and it’s important to provide the baby with healthy food and drinks. Avoid sugary beverages or foods that may increase their risk of tooth decay.
Can baby teeth come in decayed? Yes, cavities can occur in baby teeth. That’s why it is so important to properly care for your baby’s teeth, even before they start to grow!
2. Start Brushing When Teeth Appear
As soon as your baby’s first tooth appears, you need to start caring for it. The first teeth will appear around 6 months after birth, and the full set of primary teeth by the time your baby is 2 years old. As soon as one or two teeth appear, it’s time to start brushing.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for babies. These brushes have softer bristles compared to adult brushes. Make sure to use a very small amount of toothpaste. Start by brushing the outside and inside of the baby’s teeth. As your baby gets older, you can begin to brush the inside of the teeth as well. Make sure to be gentle and go slow. Many parents find it helpful to use dental mirrors to be more precise when brushing their baby’s teeth.
Avoid Flossing Too Soon
While flossing is an important oral care practice for adults, it’s not recommended you start this practice when caring for a baby’s teeth. Parents should avoid flossing their baby’s teeth until they are around 8 years old. When this time comes, parents can use an interdental brush to remove food debris from their baby’s teeth. An interdental brush is a small brush with soft bristles that is placed between the teeth to clean them. According to Kids Health, you should start flossing your baby’s teeth when two of their teeth start to touch. This will help prevent cavities and maintain good oral hygiene.
If you use regular floss on baby teeth, you may accidentally damage them. This can lead to sensitivity and other issues that need to be addressed by a dentist.
3. Using fluoride
Babies whose parents are unable to brush their teeth should be given fluoride supplements. These supplements are fortified with fluorides and can be found in many baby products like toothpaste, mouthwash, and water. If your baby isn’t drinking fluoride-containing water, be sure to use fluoridated water for mixing infant formula.
Flouride is important because it helps protect against cavities and can help strengthen baby teeth. When used correctly, it can prevent tooth decay, making it an essential part of caring for baby teeth.
4. Eating Healthy Foods
Parents should avoid giving their baby foods and drinks that contain sugar. Sugary foods have been shown to lead to tooth decay. This means parents should avoid giving their baby drinks like soda and juice. Parents should also avoid giving their baby food that may damage their teeth, like chewy or sticky foods. You should also be careful with the formula. The sugar in baby formula can be damaging to teeth, so parents should avoid giving their babies too much.
When a baby drinks formula, don’t leave the bottle in the mouth for too long. It’s too easy for a baby to develop cavities from sleeping with a bottle filled with formula or something else with sugar. If your baby wants to sleep with its bottle, put water in it.
The best food for a growing baby and its teeth includes lots of calcium and vitamins that are found in dairy products, lean proteins, fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You can buy healthy baby food or make sure your own so you’re sure it’s not stacked with damaging sugar.
5. Start Dental Visits
Parents should be sure to take their baby to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears. This first visit should include a dental exam, a cavity evaluation, and a cleaning. During this visit, the dentist will check to see how many teeth your baby has and will examine them to determine if there are any issues. He or she will also check to see how the teeth are coming in and take an x-ray of the teeth to make sure they do not have any cavities. Parents should also be sure to get their baby’s teeth cleaned by the dentist every 6 months. This will ensure their teeth stay clean and free of cavities.
When it’s time to find a good children’s dentist, parents should ask friends and family for recommendations. If you don’t have any referrals, try searching online for dentists in your area. You may want a pediatric dentist or family dentist, so do your research before making a decision. Pediatric dentists focus solely on children’s dental health and are more likely to understand your infant’s needs. However, family dentists are a good choice as well, especially if you have an existing relationship with them.
6. Change Toothbrush
Parents should also change their baby’s toothbrush regularly. Toothbrushes should be changed every three to four months, or as soon as the bristles start to fray. This will make sure your baby’s teeth stay clean and free of bacteria. When storing the baby toothbrush, make sure to keep it in an area that’s away from other toothbrushes, as this can cause contamination. You should also rinse the toothbrush with warm water after every brushing.
7.Check Your Baby’s Mouth Regularly
Parents should also check their baby’s mouth regularly. This will help them spot any issues before they become a bigger problem. The most common thing to look for is white spots on the teeth, which could indicate cavities. If you notice any unusual discoloration or signs of decay, make sure to take your baby to the dentist as soon as possible.
Babies may develop abscesses, which are painful and can cause dangerous swelling. An abscess is a swollen pocket of pus that forms around the root of a tooth, usually due to an infection. The best way to avoid abscesses is by brushing the baby’s teeth daily and taking them to the dentist regularly. Sometimes they may form when a baby is teething, so it’s important to be aware of any signs of pain or discomfort while they are cutting teeth. If you suspect your baby is experiencing an abscess, take them to the dentist right away.
8. Deal with Teething
Teething can be a trying time for both parents and babies. This is the time when teeth begin to break through the gums, which can cause pain and discomfort. To ease the process, parents should make sure to provide their babies with plenty of teething rings and toys made specifically for babies. These can help soothe the gums and reduce discomfort. To help ease the pain, parents should make sure to keep their baby’s gums clean by gently cleaning them with a wet washcloth or gauze after feedings. Applying teething gel to the baby’s gums can also create relief from discomfort.
You’ll know your baby is teething when they start to drool and chew on things. They may also become irritable and have a harder time sleeping. Make sure that you keep an eye on their gums for any swelling or irritation, as this could be a sign of teething. This period will last for several weeks, but it’s important to remember that each baby is different and the amount of time they spend teething can vary.
9. Monitor Thumb Sucking
Thumb sucking is normal behavior for babies and toddlers, however, it can cause issues if it’s done for too long. Prolonged thumb sucking can cause the teeth to become misaligned and can also interfere with speech development. If your baby has a hard time breaking the habit of thumb-sucking, try offering them a pacifier instead.
If the teeth start coming in misaligned, it may set the stage for orthodontic issues down the line. Talk to your dentist about ways to prevent this from happening, such as using a pacifier or finger guard.
10. Keep Objects Out of Reach
Parents should also keep any objects their baby might put in their mouth out of reach. These objects include anything small enough to fit in the infant’s mouth, such as coins, buttons, or beads. Make sure any dangerous items, like magnets or batteries, are also kept out of reach. The baby could swallow such items or get them stuck between their teeth, which can cause a number of issues.
11. Eat Well While Pregnant
It’s important to eat a healthy diet while pregnant, as this can have an impact on your baby’s teeth. Make sure to include plenty of calcium, iron, and other vitamins in your diet, as these all play a role in making sure your baby has strong, healthy teeth. It’s also important to limit the amount of sugary and acidic foods you eat. Never underestimate how much the gestation period can set the foundation for healthy development later on.
12. Understand Dental Milestones
Make sure you’re aware of how baby teeth should look, feel, and come in. The first tooth should appear by six months old, with the full set of primary teeth coming in by age 3. If teeth don’t appear by this time, or if your baby is showing signs of pain while teething, make sure to take them to the dentist.
Babies start developing their teeth while they’re still in the womb. Once they are born, teeth will come in around six months of age. The first teeth appear before the first birthday. Taking care of teeth is vital to a growing child’s overall health and appearance. So start caring for these teeth as soon as they appear. New parents should avoid sugary foods and drinks, brush their infant’s teeth twice daily, and visit the dentist for regular cleanings and screenings. It’s never too early to start caring for teeth on anyone. By following these detailed steps, parents can be sure to promote their baby’s oral health from the very first tooth to the full set. Contact our office when you are ready to bring your baby in for their first dental checkup!