Even if your baby only has a tooth or two appearing in an otherwise adorably gummy smile, it doesn’t mean that dental hygiene is not yet important. In fact, from the time the first tooth appears, it is important that you properly care for your baby’s tooth. Great dental care from a very young age can help set your child up to enjoy an entire lifetime of good oral health, so take your children’s dentist’s advice, and follow these simple steps for maintaining your baby’s smile’s health.
Why Oral Care Is Crucial, Even for Your Baby
When your baby’s first tooth appears, this is a good time to start a dental hygiene routine. This should include gently wiping the tooth and gums with a clean washcloth or rag after every feeding, to help keep them free from sugar. You can also begin using a gentle toothbrush designed specifically for baby teeth, though toothpaste should not be necessary at this stage.
Limiting your baby’s exposure to sugar is extremely beneficial to his or her oral health. That is because plaque bacteria feed on sugar, and with too much sugar, plaque can buildup and then calcify onto the teeth. This can lead to gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, but also dental decay, like cavities. In fact, in babies is often called “baby bottle tooth decay.”
One of the best ways to prevent this is by providing your baby with only water when it’s time for bed. Giving juice, milk or formula instead of water at bedtime, can prolong the teeth’s exposure to sugars. Don’t ever dip the baby’s pacifier in any sugary substance, either.
Finally, on your baby’s first birthday, make sure to schedule his or her first dental checkup. This is a great time for the pediatric dentist to discuss with you how to best care for baby’s smile, moving forward, and also the benefits of sealants as a preventive measure.