When your new baby gets their first tooth, you probably aren’t thinking about their oral health! Instead, you grab the camera and capture that moment forever! However, as your baby starts to grow more teeth, you need to focus on proper oral care to prevent decay. Parents play a huge role in their child’s oral health. Introducing healthy habits early in infancy can make a significant difference in how well their teeth develop.

Should I Brush my Infants Teeth?

Infants do not need their teeth brushed, but you do need to clean them with water and a simple washcloth or soft brush. There are specific infant toothbrushes made to fit on your finger. Gently brush around the teeth and over the gums to prevent decay.

Rinsing Your Infant’s Teeth

If your child loves to drink milk or juice, use water to rinse out their mouth after they drink it because long-term exposure to sugars in milk, juice, and formula can lead to cavities. Water can prevent sugars from sticking to the teeth, helping to reduce the risk of tooth decay. You should also avoid letting your child go to bed with a bottle. Baby bottle tooth decay is the most common problem we see when infants first start growing their teeth. Water is the only thing they should go to bed with as it will prevent decay at night.

Prevent Thumb Sucking

Another major issue we see is that infants like to suck on their thumbs. Thumb sucking can lead to serious problems with the way teeth grow. You should prevent your infant from using pacifiers past their first birthday as it too can lead to problems with the way the teeth grow.

When Should My Child Visit the Dentist?

The best time to visit the dentist is six months after their first tooth has erupted. The first visit will normally focus on helping a child become comfortable visiting the dentist. Our goal is to help them enjoy visiting the dentist and prevent them from being scared. We will also teach them how to care for their teeth to prevent cavities.

When Should I Begin to Use Toothpaste on my Child?

When you bring your child in for a visit, we will examine their teeth and gums and let you know when it is time to start using fluoridated toothpaste. We recommend starting toothpaste with fluoride at about age two. Begin the brushing process with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste.

Starting Brushing Habits Early

It is wise to start brushing your child’s teeth when they are six months old or younger. They need to grow up with the routine of brushing each morning and evening. By age 5, your child should be capable of brushing their teeth independently. Until this age, we recommend keeping an eye on your child’s brushing habits. Children can struggle to clean between the teeth and within the deep fissures of the teeth where plaque loves to stick.

Be a Good Example

If you really want to help your baby have great oral health habits, be a good example! Show your children healthy brushing and flossing habits so they can follow suit. Brushing and flossing your teeth with your children can be a fun nighttime routine, and it makes it easy to make sure your kids are caring for their teeth!

Visit the Dentist

The first few years of your child’s life are essential when it comes to helping them develop great lifelong oral hygiene habits! Make sure you don’t let this time slip by.

If you have any questions about your baby’s first few teeth, please feel free to give us a call at (801) 294-8880. Also, if you’re ever in the area, feel free to stop in at the office and come see us or schedule an appointment through our website.

South Davis Pediatric Dentistry is a children's dental office in Bountiful Utah