It’s never too early to take care of your teeth! When your little ones aren’t quite ready to take oral hygiene into their own hands, it’s up to you to maintain their healthy mouths and help them prevent childhood cavities. Clean mouths mean clean gums, and clean gums pave the way for clean, cavity- free baby teeth. But between chewing on dog toys and eating leftover Thanksgiving yams off the floor around Christmas time, how can you possibly hope to keep a baby’s mouth clean? Here are a few tricks and tips Palo Alto Pediatric Dentist Dr. Haghpanah recommends to set your baby up for a shining smile later in life.
Babies’ mouths are often in danger of decay when they drink from a bottle without having their mouths cleaned afterwards, and sugars lingering in baby bottles can sneak into your baby’s mouth later in their milk or water dispensed from the same bottle. Use baby bottles for breastmilk, formula, or water only, and avoid sticky, sugar-packed liquids like juices or soda. Giving your baby water after having milk is a clever way to keep his or her mouth rinsed clean, and the ADA recommends waiting until your baby is at least a year old to give them sugary, decay-causing liquids like fruit juices.
You can clean your baby’s gums and first teeth with a clean washcloth before your baby is ready to brush. After your child has finished eating or drinking anything other than water, use a damp cloth to gently wipe his or her mouth to help remove any sugars or acids left lingering in the mouth. This is an especially good habit to practice after every meal and before bedtime.
Once your child has a baby tooth or two, you can begin to help him or her brush twice daily with a soft, age- appropriate toothbrush and a tiny, grain-sized amount of fluoridated, pediatric toothpaste. Be sure to brush gently as the teeth and gums are still developing. Until your child is about five years old, you should closely monitor, support, and help your child with tooth- brushing to ensure that he or she is thoroughly cleaning the whole mouth and all teeth.
Perhaps most importantly, visit Dr.Haghpanah before your little one’s first birthday! Dental wellness begins well before the emergence of a first tooth, and everyone at Little Bytes Dental is ready to help you set your child up for a lifetime of smiles today!