6 Things Every Parent Should Know About Baby Teeth
Being a parent can be tough. Yet for most of us, the only training we received for the job was having been a kid ourselves! In the area of our babies’ dental health, there are many things our parents may not have taught us. So how do we learn what we need to know? You are doing it right now! You gather the best information you can find! Let Dr. Will Taylor, a Tucson dentist with 3 kids of his own, tell you what every parent needs to know about baby teeth.
- Even if your baby only has one tooth, it should be brushed! Using an extra soft baby toothbrush, with just a tiny drop of fluoride–free toothpaste, you should brush your baby’s teeth (or tooth) once in the morning and again right before bed.
- You should brush your baby’s teeth yourself; don’t just give her the toothbrush to “chew” on. In fact, kids are really not ready to brush their own teeth until they are 5 or 6 years old. They just don’t have the fine motor skills yet. Fluoride toothpaste shouldn’t be used until you are sure your child has learned to spit out all the toothpaste.
- Be sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth and teach your baby to spit out any toothpaste. Gently brush his gums as well.
- Once your baby has teeth, she should not be put to bed with a bottle of anything except water. Apple juice and milk contain sugar. If left in the mouth overnight, this sugar will feed the bacteria which will begin eating away at your baby’s brand new teeth. If your baby absolutely needs a bottle of milk right before bed, at the very least wipe his teeth off with a clean cloth before laying him down for the night.
- Make brushing teeth fun! Singing songs or making funny faces in the mirror will make the whole experience more delightful for everyone.
- Your baby should have his/her first trip to the dentist at about two years of age. Starting early has several benefits. First, your child will become very familiar with going to the dentist and because the first trips are easy and fun, your child is much less likely to develop anxiety or fear. Additionally, the sooner your child sees your family dentist, the sooner any problems can be detected. Nothing establishes a lifetime of dental health like routines started at an early age.
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