Congratulations on your baby’s arrival! Baby teeth set the stage for good oral development and taking good care is vital.
Good Golly, Good Gums!
Whether baby is breastfed or bottle fed, gently wipe a clean, damp washcloth or gauze on the gums after feeding. Cleaning gums clears food particles, keeping the mouth healthy. Gums are the basis for healthy tooth development.
Tada…The First Tooth!
Baby teeth start to appear between 4-7 months and are usually the two bottom teeth. Now it’s time to upgrade to a baby toothbrush; review the best options with your pediatric dentist. To brush, simply dip in water before brushing, no toothpaste necessary. If baby doesn’t react well, switch back to the damp washcloth and try brushing again in a few months.
Much Ado about Teething
Teething is the process of getting in teeth. Each baby is different- some drool more, want to chew on things, be fussy and have soreness. Tips for alleviating discomfort are giving a cold teething ring or a cold washcloth to chew on or rubbing gums with a clean finger. Consult with your pediatric dentist about any medications, teething gels or tablets. Do not give baby aspirin as it can cause Reye’s syndrome which can lead to death in children under 18. It’s fine to continue breastfeeding while baby is teething.
When a few more teeth appear, introduce toothpaste. For the first 2 years, choose toothpaste without fluoride. Too much fluoride can be dangerous for kids. Fluoride treatments usually begin at 18 months.
Things to consider
Always hold your baby when feeding from a bottle. Do not let your baby fall asleep with a bottle and never leave it in the crib. Sugary liquids in prolonged contact with teeth and milk which pools in the mouth are a guarantee for early-childhood decay, also called baby-bottle caries. Avoid sugary drinks which can cause decay – fruit juice, formula, milk and breastmilk also have sugars, so regular gum and teeth cleaning is essential. Additionally, do not give a sippy cup of juice or milk in the crib.
First Visit to the Pediatric Dentist
We recommend bringing baby for a visit within six months of the first tooth’s eruption. Since decay can occur in the smallest of teeth, the earlier the visit, the better the prevention. Signs of early problems with your baby’s oral health can be detected and guidance will be provided to care for baby’s teeth. Starting early gives your child a positive experience and he/she becomes a great dental patient.
Setting a Good Example
Kids are expert mimics! Brush and floss daily while your child is watching and offer a toothbrush of his/her own to brush along with you. Until age six, you’ll have to do the brushing since children lack fine motor skills for tooth brushing. Make it fun with flavored toothpaste, cartoon toothbrushes and singing favorite songs. Most importantly, instilling healthy oral habits at an early age sets your child up for a lifetime of healthy, cavity-free teeth!
Give your child a lifetime of smiles!
Ask for your free Baby Oral Care Kit at your first visit!
Voted NJ Family Magazine’s Top Pediatric Dentist 2020!