Establishing good dental habits with your baby early on can contribute to their dental health throughout their life. Taking care of baby’s teeth is important, as it will positively impact their life. Good oral hygiene will keep their teeth healthy, which in turn will help them chew a variety of foods. Foods they need to thrive optimally. Furthermore, decaying teeth can impede speech development. Read on and discover everything you should know about caring for your baby’s teeth.
Start cleaning the baby’s mouth when they are born, even before the first teeth appear.
It is recommended that you clean your newborn’s gums and the inside of their mouth after feeding. This will help fight bacterial growth. Simply use a clean, soft damp cloth or a soft rubber or silicone finger brush.
Did you know the bacteria that causes tooth decay is not yet present in a newborn’s mouth? In fact, these bacteria are usually transmitted from contaminated objects or adult saliva. If the conditions are right, these bacteria can lead to early childhood tooth decay. But you can reduce the risk of transmission by doing the following:
- Monitor everything baby puts in their mouth
- Do not put their pacifier in your mouth before giving it to them
- Avoid kissing baby on the mouth
- Don’t use the same spoon as baby to taste their food
- Baby should have their own toothbrush
- Always let baby’s toothbrush air dry
When will baby’s teeth erupt ?
Most babies will develop teeth between six and 12 months. The first tooth usually erupts at about six months of age, but this can vary considerably from one child to the next. Typically, babies have 20 primary (baby) teeth, which will fall out at various times throughout their childhood. So, as soon as that first tooth appears, it is important to start brushing.
When to start brushing baby’s teeth
Basically, as soon as your baby’s first tooth appears, you should start brushing. You should brush twice a day with a very soft toothbrush that has no more than three rows of bristles. In addition, dentists recommend moistening the toothbrush with water and adding a small layer of fluoride toothpaste. For children 0 to 2 years of age, the amount should be the size of a grain of rice. For children 3 to 6 years of age, the size of a pea.
Brushing is especially important before bedtime, after the last drink or food of the day. If you don’t get rid of the bacteria and sugars that cause cavities, they will have all night to do their damage. That’s why it’s VERY important to brush your teeth before bed. Also, you should not send your child to bed with a bottle, as this can lead to tooth decay. Keep in mind that your child’s toothbrush, like yours, should be replaced every 3-4 months if he or she is sick or if the bristles are bent or worn out.
When to let them brush their own teeth ?
Chances are, your child will want to try brushing on his own. You can let him try, but make sure you finish the task for a more thorough cleaning. In fact, the Canadian Dental Association recommends that an adult brush the teeth of children under the age of 3. In addition, children between the ages of 3 and 6 should be supervised when brushing their teeth. In addition, they should only use a small portion (about the size of a green pea) of fluoride toothpaste. When your child can write his or her name well, he or she has the dexterity to brush on their own.
What about flossing ?
As soon as there is no more space between your child’s teeth (usually between the ages of 2 and 6), you should start flossing your child’s teeth to prevent cavities between their teeth and get them used to this daily hygiene practice. And remember, children learn by example!
How to make brushing teeth fun ?
Some young children hate having their teeth brushed. When baby is teething and their gums are sore, it may be even harder. Here are few tricks that can help make brushing teeth fun and promote good dental habits for the rest of their lives:
- Be gentle, especially if baby is teething.
- Establish a brushing routine and stick to it. Thus, brushing becomes a habit.
- Be creative and make teeth brushing fun by reading a funny story, doing your best voices, or having a dance party to their favourite song.
- Let them pick out their own toothbrush: for example, a brush with their favourite cartoon or movie character.
- Reward good brushing behaviour with some of their favourite things (stickers, letting them pick the bedtime story, etc.).
- Set a good example by brushing your teeth with your child. Furthermore, many of your child’s favourite books and shows will have stories about brushing your teeth. Read or watch them together and use them as examples to encourage your little one to brush.
Caring for baby’s teeth is an important step in developing a good oral health routine they will follow their entire lives. Aside from preventing early childhood tooth decay, brushing baby’s teeth is key to developing strong, healthy teeth. Remember, by age 1, baby should have seen a pediatric dentist or a general dentist who is comfortable treating young children. To make an appointment for your child, please contact us.