How to Take Care of Your Baby’s Emerging Teeth
- When Do Babies Teeth Start Appearing?
- When to Start Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth
- Do You Need to Buy a Special Toothpaste and Toothbrush?
- What Kind of Toothpaste is Right for Your Baby?
- How Much Toothpaste to Use?
- How to Brush Your Baby’s Teeth
- Teaching Your Baby to Brush
- Should You Brush Your Baby’s Gums?
- How to Prevent Cavities
- What Is Fluoride?
- How to Know if Your Baby is Getting Enough Fluoride
- Is It Safe to Give Fluoride Supplements to Your Baby?
- What to Do If Your Baby Hates Brushing Time
- When to Contact a Dentist
Your baby’s oral care should begin right from the moment when his teeth start erupting. Learning to brush your baby’s teeth right can make a difference to their dental health in the long run. If your little one’s teeth have started erupting, you will want to know how to take care of them the right way. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about oral hygiene for babies.
When Do Babies Teeth Start Appearing?
In most infants, teeth start appearing, in general, when they are between four and seven months old. The first set of teeth which appear in babies are the two bottom front teeth.
When to Start Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth
Maintaining your baby’s oral hygiene from birth is important. You should start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts in the mouth.
Do You Need to Buy a Special Toothpaste and Toothbrush?
At first, you may clean your baby’s gums directly using your finger or a soft-bristled brush to let them get used to the sensations of brushing. Using a toothbrush for baby teeth care is ideal when signs of teething are noticeable.
If you are using a toothbrush, use one with a small head and soft nylon bristles. Ideally, pick a colourful brush or one with cartoon characters so that your baby looks forward to his brushing sessions and make toothbrushing times a fond memory.
With regards to using toothpaste, you should check with a paediatric dentist. The dentist will be able to tell you better. Furthermore, the amount of toothpaste to be used for babies should be as per the guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
What Kind of Toothpaste is Right for Your Baby?
Before your baby turns three, use a non-fluoride toothpaste. In case you want to use fluoride toothpaste, check with a doctor first. In the initial months, though it is best to simply use a soft washcloth, gauze or muslin to wipe your baby’s gums and clean their mouths with water.
You can begin using normal toothpaste after age three and above for your baby and once your child learns how to spit. Change toothbrushes regularly, every one to three months as soon as the bristles start spreading.
How Much Toothpaste to Use?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using a smear size or the size of a rice grain of toothpaste for children below 3 years of age. For children between the ages of 3 and 6 years, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is recommended. For anyone older, a ribbon-sized amount of toothpaste, spread along the length of the toothbrush, should be used.
How to Brush Your Baby’s Teeth
Here’s what you need to remember while brushing your little one’s teeth:
- In the initial 5 months of your baby’s birth, use a damp washcloth and wipe your baby’s mouth clean after feeding times. This gets him to get used to baby dental care routines and establish proper oral hygiene habits from the start. It will also help remove food buildups and prevent cavities from forming on their teeth.
- By 6 months, when your child’s teeth begin to first appear, start cleaning or brushing with a toothbrush that has soft nylon bristles and a small head. At this stage, brush lightly with water. You can use a soft finger toothbrush which consists of a rubber sheath with small nylon bristles.
- Seat yourself on a chair or sofa and cradle your baby on your lap in a feeding position. Glide your finger over his gums using the finger brush and wipe both sides of each tooth. You can use a toy to keep your baby engaged if he is the fidgety sort. For rinsing, swipe a wet washcloth all around his teeth and gums.
- Start brushing in a circular motion, going towards the front of the tooth to the back and work your way towards the chewing surfaces on the bottom. Repeat similar motions for the bottom.
- Sweep over the roof of the mouth, inside the cheeks and over the tongue. Rinse with a swipe of a wet washcloth.
- Take care of your baby’s teeth right from the moment they start erupting. The first set of teeth is vital as they preserve the spacing and arrangement of upcoming permanent teeth which they get soon replaced with. If they are not cared for properly, it could result in tooth decay and can interfere with the formation of permanent teeth.
- When your baby turns three years of age, you can start using fluoride toothpaste but make sure the amount you use is not more than pea-sized. Brush gently on the inside and outside of their teeth and even their tongues (if they’ll let you) to remove traces of bacteria and clear away bad breath.
- Up your baby’s fluoride intake after they turn 6 months old. Fluoride prevents tooth decay and even though you’re not using toothpaste at this stage, it’s important to supplement fluoride through other sources. Tap water contains fluoride in traces and is a great source, however, some water supply companies remove fluoride content from tap water. Consult your doctor regarding fluoride supplements once your baby is older.
- Avoid cavities by not leaving your baby with a bottle of milk or juice once feeding is done.
While brushing teeth is something most of us do when we are almost half asleep, brushing a baby’s teeth may need more of an effort. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Learning how to clean baby teeth is vitally important before you begin cleaning their teeth. Make sure you clean your baby’s gums too along with his teeth.
- Your baby may feel discomfort and be reluctant to let his teeth get brushed in the beginning. A good workaround for this is making fun little games and demonstrating how toothbrushing is important by doing it yourself. A cold teething ring or a cold washcloth which the baby can chew on helps too.
- Before using special teething gels and creams, consult your doctor.
- Clean your baby’s gums with a washcloth at least once a day, including their gums, after the feeding process to exercise proper baby dental care. Slowly start flossing his teeth once he gets comfortable with the sensation of toothbrushing.
Teaching Your Baby to Brush
Your child will begin brushing when they turn six to eight years old. When teaching your baby to brush, it is important to turn it into a fun-filled experience. You can sing favourite songs associated with brushing and gently allow the baby to get used to the motions and sensations of brushing. Toddlers must be guided to spit the toothpaste after brushing, and you may use an electric toothbrush to help your toddler get used to brushing. Brushing must be encouraged twice a day for optimal oral dental care.
Should You Brush Your Baby’s Gums?
Yes, brushing your baby’s gums will eliminate bad breath and signs of bacterial, thus preventing dental infections. Clean your baby’s gums with a washcloth at least once a day, including his gums, after the feeding process to exercise proper baby dental care.
How to Prevent Cavities
During the first 5 months, use a damp washcloth and wipe your baby’s mouth clean after feeding sessions. This will get your baby used to the dental care routine and establish proper oral hygiene habits from the start. It will also help remove food buildups and prevent cavities from forming on their tooth. Adding fluoride supplements or using a dab of fluoride toothpaste helps fights against cavities as well.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that’s found in tap water and toothpaste. Fluoride helps prevent teeth decay by strengthening the developing teeth of children, hardening enamel and preventing dissolution through demineralization processes in the baby’s teeth.
How to Know if Your Baby is Getting Enough Fluoride
Tap water sometimes contains fluoride which may reduce the need for fluoride supplements in the beginning, however, check with your doctor regarding this since too much fluoride content can damage your baby’s teeth.
Is It Safe to Give Fluoride Supplements to Your Baby?
Babies must not be given fluoride supplements during the first six months. After six months, based on a doctor’s recommendation, fluoride supplements can be given to the baby, but only considering the baby’s overall fluoride intake.
What to Do If Your Baby Hates Brushing Time
Your baby may feel discomfort and be reluctant to let their teeth get brushed in the beginning. A good workaround for this is making fun little games and demonstrating how toothbrushing is important by doing it yourself. A cold teething run or a cold washcloth which the baby can chew on helps too.
When to Contact a Dentist
If your baby has teething troubles consult a doctor or a dental specialist. Before using special teething gels and creams, consult your doctor.
Brushing your baby’s teeth is not as hard as one expects. By following the above tips and keeping fluoride intake in mind, you will be able to take care of your baby’s teeth and overall oral hygiene with ease.
Also Read: Bathing Your Baby – Procedure and Tips