According to research, the dental industry is worth over $359 billion worldwide. Our teeth not only determine the look of our smiles but also provide insight into our overall health. Starting early and being consistent is the most effective way to ensure your child’s optimal oral care. Continue reading to learn why healthy baby teeth and gums are the foundation of your child’s radiant smile.
When to Start
Every child’s dental development differs; their teeth can appear in any order. While most baby teeth start to grow between 6-10 months, they can form as early as 3 months or as late as 12 months. Although it is uncommon, some newborns have 1-2 teeth. In most cases, the lower incisors are usually the first to emerge.
Dentists strongly advise parents to begin caring for their infant’s teeth and gums even before the first baby tooth appears. Baby teeth begin to form while still in the womb, and by the time they are born, they have a full set of baby teeth beneath their jaws. As a result, it is critical to clean your infant’s gums daily.
Importance of Healthy Baby Teeth
A healthy mouth starts with healthy teeth and gums. Giving your child a healthy start with proper oral hygiene is essential for long-term success. Read on about the importance of baby teeth care:
- removes residual food and milk
- minimizes decay-causing bacteria
- forms child’s facial shape
- provides clear verbal communication
- enables easier chewing and eating
- encourages good oral health
- promotes healthy structural growth
- reserves spaces for permanent adult teeth
Creating a fun, consistent routine for your child will not only make them feel more at ease with the process but will also set them up for a positive overall experience later in life.
How to Clean Your Baby’s Teeth and Gums
Place your baby in a secure, comfortable position that allows you to see properly inside their mouth.
Using your finger, gently wipe your infant’s teeth and gums with a damp, clean cloth or gauze pad. Lift your infant’s lip and cup their chin for better support and access.
Begin using a soft infant toothbrush once your baby’s teeth start growing in. Brush their teeth in gentle, circular motions, ensuring you clean their tongue, gum line, and all sides of the teeth.
Baby Teeth Care Tips
Your baby is the most precious thing in the world, and caring for their teeth and gums is a wonderful gift you can give them from the time they are born. Continue reading about how you can care for your child’s dental health with these simple tips.
Clean your baby’s mouth after every feeding, or at least twice daily, before and after teeth develop. After every cleaning, the toothbrush should be rinsed with tap water and placed upright in an accessible container to air-dry. Replace your baby’s toothbrush every 3-4 months or when the bristles wear down.
Large amounts of fluoride and strong minty flavors are not suitable for children. Baby toothpaste is only available in gentle low-fluoride or fluoride-free options. For children up to three years old, only use a small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a rice grain. Then, between the ages of three and six, you can start giving them a pea-sized amount.
Only use a bottle during feeding time. Avoid giving your infant a bottle of formula or breast milk at bedtime to prevent tooth decay. If your infant falls asleep during feeding, immediately remove the breast or bottle from their mouth. This also applies to pacifiers and thumb-sucking.
Once teeth start to grow in, try to minimize night feedings. After 12 months, offer them water when they are thirsty and try to avoid sugary drinks or snacks. Otherwise, ensure they thoroughly rinse their mouth with water after eating something sweet.
Establish a routine to help your child get used to it and create a shared experience. Try to schedule your brushing routine during every bath time. You can even give your child a toothbrush to chew on with close supervision.
Singing songs, telling stories, and playing with toys can make the experience more fun. Allow them to observe your actions while you show them how to brush their teeth.
Benefits of Dental Visits
When your baby gets their first tooth, it’s time to schedule their first dental visit. Not only will experts offer you the best advice, but can help to ease any anxiety you and your child may have. The benefits of dental visits include:
- familiarity with the dental office
- early detection of oral health issues
- healthy eating tips from a professional
- establishes an early dentist-patient relationship
- fosters long-lasting healthy habits
Dental appointments can be a wonderful experience for your children, whether you are just beginning a new routine or are well into your dental adventure with your young one.
When your child gets their first tooth, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Children under the age of three should not use fluoride toothpaste as it may be harmful to their teeth.
Your child should visit the dentist no later than six months after their first tooth comes in to teach them healthy oral habits and prevent cavities from forming.
Every six months, your child should come in for a regular check-up. This helps dentists keep a close eye on their oral hygiene and tooth development. This also helps to prevent any major dental issues from happening down the road. It is also recommended to speak with a health professional about payment plans and personalized care for your child.
A Healthy Start
Every child’s dental journey is unique, and maintaining your child’s oral health from a young age is critical to developing long-term good habits.
Our goal is to provide a simple approach to caring for baby teeth so that your child can grow up with the self-esteem they deserve. Contact us today to learn more about why a healthy smile is a happy smile.