Science / Health

Never too Early to Start Caring for your Child’s Teeth

Most people do not think about oral health for a child until the teeth start coming in. Even then, dental appointments rarely get made until they are in preschool. However, baby teeth are present in your infant’s jaw at birth. Tooth decay is preventable with proper care. Therefore, knowing how to tend to your child’s teeth is vital for preventing issues.

Good Tips in Oral Health

A few things can be done from the moment your child is born, and continue through the early years that instill good health habits. A few include:

  • Breastfeed for as long as possible
  • Only use formula, breastmilk, or water in a bottle
  • Resist the urge to lay an infant down with a bottle
  • Clean pacifiers daily
  • Do not share spoons or pacifiers

Birth to Six Months

Your infant will not start having teeth pop through until closer to three months, but that does not mean you should not begin routines.

  • Clean gums after every feeding with a damp washrag
  • Raise your child’s head during feeding
  • Ease teething with cold rags to prevent damage to the gums
  • Remember breastmilk is at body temperature, and formula needs to be the same to discourage bacterial growth

Six Months to a Year

The first tooth is generally seen anywhere from three to six months, marking it a good time to start weaning children off bottles.

  • Start brushing your child’s gum and teeth with a soft toothbrush, no paste, as soon as a tooth appears
  • If not breastfeeding, start offering a no-spill cup for beverages around nine months
  • Discourage your child from using a pacifier or sucking their thumb
  • Around the first birthday, schedule their first dental appointment
  • Sanitize anything that goes in your child’s mouth every day

Year to 18 months

  • Begin brushing your child’s teeth twice a day
  • Consult with your dentist whether it is okay to start adding toothpaste
  • Routinely check the mouth for any signs of cavities
  • Limit juice and other sugary drinks

18 months to 3 Years

  • By age two, you should be adding in a fluoride toothpaste and have them rinse well
  • Continue biannual checkups with your dentist, or as recommended

3 to 5 Years

  • Begin teaching your child how to brush their teeth
  • Remove all pacifiers and enforce no sucking of thumbs
  • Work to help kids keep things out of their mouth
  • Begin using floss on adjoining teeth

If you struggle with pacifiers or sucking of thumbs, consult with your child’s dentist. It is best to seek a physician that specializes in children. They are more aware of problems and issues that are specific to infants and kids. Decay will appear as white or brown spots on teeth. However, plaque will also build quickly without brushing. The steps you take when your baby is born, and growing quickly, will have a profound impact on their health later in life. Starting routines young makes it easier for them to continue, especially if they feel normal. Offices like SmileWorks,, create an atmosphere where children can feel comfortable and not fear visiting the dentist.

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