Oral health for your baby’s teeth begins even before their first primary teeth appear. Wiping a baby’s gums with a damp cloth before baby teeth erupt can keep gums healthy, but it is essential to start brushing your child’s teeth once they appear. A common misconception is that the health of baby teeth is inconsequential since the teeth will eventually fall out. Contrary to this perpetuated myth, the health of a baby’s teeth and gums will largely influence their oral health as adults. Not only do healthy teeth allow your baby to chew and speak clearly, baby teeth will also impact the spacing and health of permanent teeth.
Most infant’s baby teeth will appear between 6-9 months. As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts, begin gently brushing teeth in small circular movements. The best toothbrushes for baby teeth are soft bristled with a small angled head. Gently brush baby teeth twice a day using water and a very small amount, about the size of a grain of rice, of low-fluoride toothpaste until age 3. Once your child is over 3 years you can begin using regular toothpaste, using a pea sized amount to prevent swallowing.
As soon as their first year, babies should visit a pediatric dentist to make certain that their primary teeth and gums are healthy. Consult your pediatric dentist for any questions or concerns about your baby’s dental needs; we can ensure that your infants teeth healthy and establish healthy dental habits early.
Any parent with a young child can tell you about the joys of teething. Teething is not a fun experience for the child or the parent, and many parents worry about the timing, pain levels, placement, and future health of their babies little teeth. Most babies begin teething between 4-9 months, although the time scale can vary wildly from one baby to another. When a baby begins teething, their gums become very tender. Usually the best way to sooth sore gums is by softly rubbing gums with a clean finger or allowing the baby to relieve pressure by chewing on a teething ring or toy. There are many teething ring options available for babies, but ensure that whatever you use, the ring or toy is kept clean to reduce the chance of infection.
In addition to keeping toys and rings clean, it is also a good idea to wipe down your babies gums with a cool wet washcloth. Bacteria doesn’t usually threaten the gums until baby teeth emerge, but starting oral hygiene early will keep baby teeth healthy. Wiping your baby’s gums will also help them adjust to having their mouth cleaned and will make the transition to brushing easier once teeth emerge.
Sometimes using age appropriate medications such as Tylenol can reduce fevers and allow teething babies to sleep better. While excessive drooling, fussiness, sleeplessness, a low fever, and lots of crying are to be expected, but contact your pediatric dentist if your baby has extreme or long-term symptoms. If your baby is experiencing a high fever, diarrhea, or vomiting while teething, contact your pediatrician.