You do not need to begin brushing an infant's teeth with a toothbrush or toothpaste until their baby teeth begin to erupt, but you should clean your baby’s gums on a daily basis. Read below on how to do so.
Baby teeth usually erupt between six and nine months of age. These teeth are very important, as they help your child eat and speak, and their eventual removal will guide the adult teeth into their proper places.
Before the First Tooth
Proper dental care begins before your child's first tooth appears. Every day, you should gently run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to wipe away harmful bacteria.
Making the cleaning of your baby’s gums a part of your daily routine right from the start will help ensure that, by the time your baby’s first tooth comes in, you and your baby are both already accustomed to regular mouth cleanings. The child might be more desensitized and therefore less resistant to brushing their teeth regularly.
Furthermore, because every baby teethes a bit differently, it can sometimes be difficult for a parent to tell when their baby’s first tooth is beginning to break through. Cleaning the gums daily also affords you the opportunity to check for any teeth coming in.
When the First Tooth Appears
When the first tooth appears, you should start brushing with an infant toothbrush and fluoride-free toothpaste.
Baby teeth must be cleaned on a regular basis because, like adults, infants can get cavities too. Once your child has a tooth, plaque can begin building up on the surface right away and eventually cause tooth decay.
Children should brush at least twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed. Flossing can begin once your child has two teeth side-by-side.
Tips for Oral Care of Baby Teeth
Even babies can develop tooth decay if good dental habits aren't implemented. By following these oral health tips, you can help your child's baby teeth remain healthy:
- Teach your children good dental care habits early. When you show them how to take care of their baby teeth you are starting positive habits that will last a lifetime.
- Avoid putting a baby to sleep with a bottle. This might be convenient for parents but can harm the baby's teeth. When sugars from juice or milk sit on a baby's teeth for hours, they can eat away at the enamel, causing a condition known as bottle mouth.
- Visit a dentist who provides children's services by the age of one year, or around the time when the first teeth appear. This will help preserve the baby teeth until they are ready to fall out and be replaced by the adult teeth.