The typical baby should visit a dentist by their first birthday, but caring for baby teeth begins much earlier. In fact, even before the first tooth emerges it is important to take proper care of your baby’s gums. If you are new to parenthood, don’t stress. We are here to outline how and when you should start caring for developing baby teeth.
Before the First Tooth Emerges
Clean and healthy gums are vital for the development of your baby’s future teeth. To ensure healthy gums, clean your baby’s mouth with a gauze pad once a day. Dampen the clean gauze pad with water, do not add toothpaste, and gently wipe your baby’s gums. This will clear the gums from debris and prepare them for emerging baby teeth.
Emerging Baby Teeth
Typically, the first baby teeth emerge at around six months of age, although the teething process begins around four months of age. They usually emerge in pairs, and it is likely that the first two baby teeth will be your child’s bottom front teeth. Once teeth have emerged, use a child-sized soft-bristled toothbrush to gently clean the teeth and gums. Perform this process twice-a-day and continue to only use water to clean teeth.
Developed Baby Teeth
At about age three, your child should have a nearly complete set of baby teeth. At this point, you may begin using fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth. The amount of toothpaste should not exceed the amount of a pea, and you should still assist your child in brushing their teeth twice-a-day. You should continue to assist your child in brushing their teeth until they can rinse and spit without assistance. This is important because your child could suffer serious side-effects from swallowing toothpaste that include brown streaks on their teeth and crumbling tooth enamel. For this reason, supervise and assist children with brushing their teeth.
Improper Baby Teeth Care
Although it may be easy to rationalize that because children lose their baby teeth, caring for them is not that important, this is not true. Baby teeth affect the health and placement of permanent teeth, and improper baby teeth care can lead to early decay and gingivitis in adult teeth. For this reason, it is important that you begin caring for your baby’s teeth long before the first tooth emerges.
We want to be sure that all children are set to have healthy oral hygiene as they grow older. If you are concerned about your child’s baby teeth, or would like to learn more about caring for your baby’s developing teeth, contact A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe in Houston, Texas to set up an appointment with our experienced dentists.