A lot of times people think there is no need for caring for baby and toddler teeth or an oral hygiene routine until children have a full set of teeth, but that is far from the truth. Parents should start caring for their baby’s gums right from the start. Before your baby grows their first teeth, use a soft moistened washcloth to wipe their gums at least twice a day, especially after feeding and at nighttime. Wiping a baby’s gums will help to remove bacteria and plaque that could harm their teeth once they come out.
Once your baby is about 6 months old, teeth will slowly begin to appear, and they will most likely have a full set by the time they are 3 years old. As soon as the first tooth appears in your baby’s mouth, it should be brushed. A baby’s first toothbrush should have a soft brush and a small head that won’t feel too invasive. We recommend that, Until your child learns to purposefully spit and rinse, you should use a very small amount of fluoride-free training toothpaste. Once your toddler has 2 teeth next to each other, it’s time to start flossing. In the beginning, it may be easier for you (and them) to start flossing with plastic floss picks. You can check out this list of ADA-approved products for kids.
It is important to take good care of your child’s teeth to make sure that their adult teeth will come out strong and healthy. Preventing tooth decay is much easier and less painful than visiting the doctor for a filling or crown. Besides brushing and flossing, it is important to keep their bottles, pacifiers, and utensils clean. This doesn’t only mean that you need to wash these properly, but also avoid sharing or “cleaning” them by licking them yourself if they fall to the floor. A very common way for babies to get cavities is when their teeth are exposed to sugary drinks for too long. Avoid filling up their bottle with juice or drinks containing sugar and stick to formula or milk. For toddlers, try exchanging juice and sodas with water containing fluoride when you can to protect their teeth.
Finally, remember that once your baby’s first tooth appears (or before their first birthday) it is time for a visit to the dentist. Once your child gets their first set of molars, your dentist may recommend applying sealants to help keep them cavity-free. Caring for baby and toddler teeth and visiting the dentist regularly will help your child grow up with a healthy mouth. If you want to learn more about what you should consider when looking for your children’s dentist, check out this blog.