Our 5-star-rated Plympton MA dentist has a few tips on how to ensure a healthy mouth as your baby grows into a toddler.
After weeks of watching your baby fuss and drool, you are relieved to see the tiniest little tooth bud emerge in his or her gummy smile. This usually starts when he or she is about four months old. By the end of the next two years, your baby will have two rows of new teeth.
Just like your child at this age, baby teeth are little but important, as they are placeholders for adult teeth. Healthy baby teeth ensure that your little one will be able to chew properly and speak clearly at his or her appropriate developmental milestones.
6 Steps Toward Baby’s Healthy Teeth From Our Plympton Dentist
TIP #1 – Don’t Start with a Toothbrush
Our Plympton MA dentist will likely recommend that you gently wipe your baby’s gums twice a day with a soft, clean washcloth that has been moistened with warm water or a piece of sterile gauze wrapped around your fingertip. It’s best to do this after feedings and before bedtime. This helps prevent bacteria from building up and forming plaque on your baby’s new teeth.
TIP #2 – Begin with a Soft Toothbrush around 6 Months
As you notice more teeth appearing, probably when your child is around 6 months old, you’ll need to shop for an infant toothbrush. Do select one with two rows of soft bristles, a small head, a large handle, and a good grip for your hand. Ask our local Plympton dental office for recommendations.
TIP #3 – Skip the Fluoride Toothpaste
Ingesting too much fluoride, especially at a young age, can cause teeth to have permanent discoloration when they finally erupt. To avoid this, purchase a fluoride-free toothpaste especially formulated for infants and toddlers. Don’t use more than a dab of toothpaste; an amount about the size of a grain of rice is perfect. If your child doesn’t drink city water with added fluoride, however, you may want to check with your experienced Plympton MA dentist to see if store-bought fluoridated water would be appropriate for your baby.
Always Ask Your Plympton Dentist Before Giving Fluoride Supplements
TIP #4 – Follow a Brushing Routine
Do brush gently all around the inside of your baby’s mouth, front and back, for about two minutes, paying attention to each tooth as well as his or her tongue. Such a small amount of fluoride-free toothpaste doesn’t require rinsing. Continue a routine of brushing twice a day, in the morning upon waking and right before bedtime. Replace the toothbrush when its bristles start to show wear. There’s no need to worry about flossing yet. That can start once your child’s teeth have come in enough to where they are touching.
TIP #5 – Skip the Sugar
Don’t fill your baby’s bottle with fruit juice, soda, or other sugary drinks. Bacteria thrive on sugar, producing acid that leads to tooth decay. If you send your child to nap or to bed with a bottle, fill it with water instead.
TIP #6 – See a Plympton Dentist by Age 2
Every child needs a first dental checkup no later than age 2. Some dentists even recommend that the first checkup occur by age 1, in fact. You should call your Plympton MA dental office to ask what their recommended age is for your child’s first dental appointment. Your dentist can advise you about baby tooth care, teething, fluoride treatments, and thumb-sucking.
In the meantime, do pay attention for the signs of tooth decay and ask your child’s pediatrician to check, too. Brown or white spots or pits in your child’s teeth may be early warnings of cavities, gingivitis, or tooth decay. Left untreated, any of these conditions can affect the spacing of permanent teeth.
The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to dentistry, feel free to contact Luxe Smile Dentistry, with a convenient dental office location near Plympton, by clicking here or by calling 781.319.0070.