Despite the fact that they are not permanent, there is no time to waste in caring for your child’s baby teeth. In fact, proper care for the teeth should begin before the teeth come in. Baby teeth not only help your child chew, smile, and talk, they also maintain space in the jaw for the permanent teeth, which are already growing below the gums. Dr. Michelle Sandler, a trusted dentist in the San Diego area, is here to give you expert advice on what steps to take to ensure that your baby will have a healthy mouth for the rest of his or her life.
Parents should begin by cleaning their baby’s mouth within the first few days after birth. During this time the mouth can be cleaned by gently wiping the gums with a warm, moist, clean washcloth, or a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger.
When Teeth Begin to Appear
Generally, the front four teeth will begin to appear in a baby’s mouth between six to twelve months of age. Once these teeth start to surface, it is important to schedule a dentist appointment. Your dentist in the Encinitas area will not only begin to do an early check for cavities, she will also be able to give valuable advice on how to clean your child’s teeth, on how to nip bad habits like thumb sucking in the bud.
Avoiding Early Cavities
While leaving the baby with a bottle in his or her mouth after feeding may seem to calm the baby, this should be avoided, as it can lead to cavities. Follow a feeding of your baby with a drink of water. Most baby food simply washes off the teeth with some water, so a few sips will go a long way in preventing cavities. Brushing with a toothbrush is not necessary until your child is eating solid foods, but allowing him or her to get used to having a toothbrush in their mouth is recommended by your family dentist in the Del Mar area.
Once your child has a significant amount of teeth – typically at around 18 to 24 months of age – you should begin brushing with a toothbrush, using a pea-sized amount of non-fluoride toothpaste. Brushing twice a day, in the morning and at night, should be sufficient to care for the teeth. As your child matures and you can trust that they will not swallow the toothpaste, you can then move on to use toothpaste with fluoride.
Once your child has two teeth that touch it is important to begin flossing every day. A very gentle approach will help your child get used to the feeling of floss. Care for teeth regularly, morning and night, to get your child started with good oral health habits that will last a lifetime.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s teeth be sure to call your local dentist near San Diego at Solana Family Dental at (858) 345-4497.