If there’s drool constantly dripping from your baby’s mouth and chin and she wants to put everything in her mouth all of a sudden, then congratulations! Your baby’s tooth is probably on its way.
While you might be concentrating on relieving her gum pain and providing her with the most comfort possible while she is teething, it’s also critical to start considering how to take care of those tiny pearls.
This is why: Babies who have teeth are susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. Additionally, children are more likely to develop cavities in their adult teeth if they have cavities in their baby teeth. Therefore, it’s crucial to establish a dental care routine early. Also, healthy baby teeth are super important because they form the shape of your child’s face, they make it easier for your child to talk more clearly, and they make eating and chewing easier.
How might you go about doing this? We have some pointers just for you.
Infant Oral Care
It’s crucial to understand that a bacteria known as Streptococcus mutans is one of the factors contributing to some kids’ increased risk of developing cavities. Because it consumes sugar and produces acid that dissolves the teeth’s protective enamel, it is the primary cause of tooth decay.
Although this bacteria is not present at birth, studies have shown that babies can pick it up very early on through the saliva of a parent or caregiver. Streptococcus mutans can be contracted by kissing a baby on the lips, sharing a spoon, or cleaning her pacifier in your mouth. The more cavity-causing bacteria an adult has in their mouth, the more cavity-causing bacteria the baby will get. We advise parents or any other adults not to share a toothbrush or eating utensil with a child, or to clean off a pacifier with their mouth.
The way a baby is fed can also affect the condition of their teeth. Babies who go to sleep with a bottle of milk, juice, or a pacifier coated in honey or sugar run the risk of developing baby bottle tooth decay. When sugar builds up around their teeth while they are sleeping, it feeds the Streptococcus mutans bacterium, causing decay.
At this age, oral hygiene also plays a huge role. When a baby’s first tooth erupts, you should begin brushing it. The American Dental Association advises using a dollop of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice up until the age of three and a small, soft toothbrush to gently brush all the way around the teeth. The fluoride in toothpaste will help fortify tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay. When using fluoride-containing toothpaste on babies and young toddlers who are unable to spit, you should use a piece of damp gauze to remove any excess toothpaste. Although the fluoride is not hazardous to their health, when developing teeth are exposed to excessive amounts of the substance, they can begin to appear chalky and white (dental fluorosis) so just be wary of this.
By their first birthday or six months following the eruption of their first tooth, children should begin visiting the dentist.
Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth
You’ll have to take the lead until your child is old enough to brush his/her own teeth, and we advise sitting cross-legged while holding your small toddler in your lap so they can gaze up at you. You get easy access to the rear teeth thanks to this.
Giving your toddler something to play with or watch can be a great distraction if they aren’t being cooperative.
Until your child learns to spit, you should be brushing twice a day and wiping away excess toothpaste with a piece of gauze.
Kindergarten and Up
You can start using a little larger, pea-sized dollop of toothpaste on the toothbrush once a child is able to spit. Children should clean their teeth twice daily for two minutes each.
And let’s not forget about flossing! The parent should be actively flossing their child’s teeth as soon as they come into contact with one another. This is typically the case when the child’s molars, which typically erupt between the ages of 3 and 4, come in.
Up until the age of 8, you should continue to supervise your child’s dental routine, as they might not have the manual dexterity required to reach every part of the mouth before that age.
Additionally, the American Dental Association advises seeing the dentist regularly and changing their toothbrush every three to four months.
Other Things to Prevent Tooth Decay And Promote Infant Oral Care
Make sure your toddler doesn’t consume food or liquids regularly during the day. Within 20 minutes of ingesting or drinking something, the sugar turns into an acid.
- Only use a bottle at feeding time. Never breastfeed or use a bottle as a pacifier.
- Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle of formula or breastmilk.
- Take the breast out of your baby’s mouth if they nod off while you are breastfeeding.
- Avoid night feedings and frequent, on-demand feedings once the first tooth erupts.
- By the age of 12 months, transition your child from a bottle to a cup.
- Once your child turns one, they are allowed to drink water whenever they are thirsty during the day. Give them only water at meals; do not give them other beverages.
- Fluoride makes teeth strong and less prone to decay, so having your dentist put a cap of fluoride on their teeth may be beneficial
As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts, you should start teaching them proper oral hygiene practices to prevent cavities and provide the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health. Please give us a call today at 801-948-8880 to book an appointment for your infant/toddler and let us ensure that their tiny teeth are well taken care of.