Even though your baby’s teeth aren’t there to stay, it’s still crucial to take care of them, since they reserve space for his or her permanent teeth. Some parents may wonder if their baby’s teeth are really in danger of decay; after all, the child isn’t eating solid foods.
However, babies’ teeth are in constant contact with milk, which contains sugars that can cause decay and ultimately tooth loss. There’s even a term for this condition – “baby bottle mouth.”
Fortunately, there are several things parents can do to prevent oral heath problems. Use these 4 tips to keep your baby’s teeth as clean as possible.
- Before your baby’s teeth come in, wipe your baby’s gums with a damp cloth or piece of gauze after feedings.
- Once his or her first tooth comes in, it’s time to begin brushing. Brush your baby’s teeth using a toothbrush that has a small head and soft bristles. It may be helpful to purchase a toothbrush made specifically for infants (one of our dentists may also be able to provide you with one).
- Prior to your child’s first birthday, you can gently brush his or her teeth using just water. Then, you can introduce a tiny amount of toothpaste (about the size of a pea). The toothpaste should be non-fluoride until your child is two years old.
- Don’t allow your child to go to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Doing so exposes your baby’s teeth to sugars for several hours before they’ll be cleaned again, which means there’s ample time for the sugars to attack the teeth. Instead, give your baby water at bedtime.
In addition to caring for your baby’s teeth at home, it’s important to begin taking your child to a pediatric dentist as soon as he or she gets that first tooth.
By implementing a few good habits early on, you can make sure your child has the best chance for a lifetime of good oral heath.