“Our technician was so patient with our two 2-year-olds, and they were so happy to show off their 'sparkly' teeth to everyone they saw that day!”
You’ve prepared the nursery and child-proofed the house for the arrival of your baby, but are you prepared for the arrival of baby’s first tooth?
Follow these guidelines and your baby will be on the way to a lifetime of healthy smiles!
CARING FOR GUMS
After breast- or bottle-feeding, wrap one finger with a clean, damp washcloth or piece of gauze and gently rub it across your baby’s gum tissue. This clears your infant’s mouth of any food fragments.
BABY’S FIRST TOOTH
When the first tooth makes an entrance, it’s time to upgrade to a baby toothbrush. There are usually two options: a long-handled toothbrush that you and your baby can hold at the same time, and a finger-puppet-like brush that fits over the tip of your pointer finger.
At this stage, toothpaste isn’t necessary; just dip the brush in water before brushing. If your little one doesn’t react well to the introduction of a toothbrush, don’t give up. Switch back to a damp washcloth for a few months, then try the toothbrush again. During the teething process your child will want to chew on just about anything, and a baby toothbrush with a teether can become a favorite toy during this period.
BRUSHING WITH TOOTHPASTE
When a few more teeth appear, you can start using toothpaste with your child’s brush. For the first two years, be sure to choose toothpaste that does not contain fluoride, unless advised otherwise by your dentist, because too much fluoride can be dangerous for youngsters.
At this stage, use only a tiny amount of toothpaste. From the beginning, have your son or daughter practice spitting the toothpaste out after brushing to prepare for fluoride toothpaste, which should not be swallowed at any age.
Don’t give your baby any sort of sweetened liquids such as flavored drinks or soda. Even the sugars present in fruit juice, formula, and milk (this goes for breast milk as well) can cause decay. Also, make sure your baby never goes to bed with a bottle: Sugary liquids in prolonged contact with the teeth can cause “baby bottle tooth decay.”
FIRST VISIT TO THE DENTIST
We recommend bringing your child in for a visit within six months after the first tooth appears.
Remember that preparing for each dental visit with a positive attitude goes a long way toward making your child comfortable with regular checkups.