A few words about your child’s teeth. First teeth may typically erupt any time in the first 15 months of life. A child can even be born with teeth(so called “natal teeth”). Even before the first tooth, it is beneficial to gently wipe your baby’s toothless gums twice daily with a soft moistened washcloth. Subsequently, use a soft toothbrush with a small brush head for the first erupting teeth. It is probably best to not use fluoride toothpaste until your child is able to spit it out; a pea sized amount of paste is appropriate for a 3 year old. Brush your child’s teeth–front to back– unitl he/she can hold the brush themselves and most children can brush unsupervised by age 6.
The American Dental Association now recommends that baby’s first dental visit should take place around the first birthday. Don’t be discouraged if not much examining or treating occurs with these first visits–it’s fine to have your toddler sit in your lap and let your dentist do as much as his/her little patient will allow. This will gradually “demystify” the process and will reap benefits in trust and cooperation at future visits.
Other useful dental tips:
- DO NOT put your baby to bed with a bottle. This can lead to severe tooth decay–so called “bottle rot.”
- If breastfeeding, remove your breast from baby’s mouth when she falls to sleep.
- Don’t dip pacifiers in sugary fluids
- Don’t feed juice or other sugary fluids to baby with a bottle
- Don’t add sugar to foods/snacks
- Have your child brush teeth twice daily
- Limit sugary, sticky snacks. I advise an extra brushing after these foods
- Dental visits every 6 months. You too–at least once yearly.
- By age 10 endeavor to initiate flossing. Again, you floss, too. As with everything else, be a good role model.
As always, please call me with questions or comments, and thanks for following along