A lifetime of good oral health begins during infancy, even before the first teeth emerge. Parents who are well-educated in children’s dental health can more adequately ensure that a child’s oral care needs are met. From an early age, pediatric dentists serve as partners in oral health and prevention, answering questions and providing helpful information about teething and at-home oral care.
To best address your infants oral needs you can wipe infant’s teeth gently with a moist, soft cloth. As teeth erupt, use a child’s toothbrush with a small smear of toothpaste. By age two or three begin to teach your child to brush, then you will need to brush where they miss.
- Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth, top and bottom.
- Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush the chewing surfaces.
- Gently brush the tongue and roof of mouth to remove debris.
- Floss between teeth daily.
Did you know…
2 in 5 children have at least one cavity by the time they go to kindergarten? In fact, early childhood caries can appear shortly after the first tooth appears. Once a baby has developed tooth decay, he or she is more likely to develop additional cavities over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I take care of my baby’s teeth and gums at home?
Infants do not have teeth to brush or floss. However, they do have gums that should be cleansed gently with a damp cloth each day. Once the first tooth emerges, an age appropriately sized toothbrush can be used to carefully brush and prevent the build-up of plaque.
Should I bring my infant to the dentist?
Yes. Early visits to the dentist are highly informational and supportive. Children should visit the dentist for the first time within six months of getting a first tooth and no later than age one. Keep in mind that the initial dental visits for babies and toddlers allow the doctor to both examine the child and also educate the parent on dental health. This can have significant long-term impact on your child’s oral health.
Is there anything I can do to prevent early childhood tooth decay?
Do not allow your child to go to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water. Sugar-containing liquids such as milk, juice and soda can, can lead to a condition known as ‘baby bottle decay’.