As a parent, watching your child grow and hit certain milestones can be a very exciting time. This is especially true as their first teeth begin to emerge from their delicate gums. While it may seem like it is all happening so fast, it is important to take steps now to ensure that your baby is exposed to proper dental care that will eventually lead to positive lifelong dental habits.
According to the American Dental Association, it is a good idea to clean your baby’s gums to help fight bacteria even before your child’s first teeth appear. This can be done twice a day by using a soft, damp cloth, or a rubber or silicone finger brush which babies tend to love due to their nubby texture.
Tips for Brushing Your Child’s Teeth
As the first teeth begin to poke through the gums, you may continue to use a clean, damp washcloth, finger brush or gauze pad to wipe the teeth and front of the tongue after meals and before bed. You may also choose to use a toothbrush, but it is important to make sure that you are using the proper brush for your child. The toothbrush should be very soft with no more than three rows of bristles, have a small head and a large handle. Be sure to moisten the brush with water and dispose of any brushes that become rough or are over two to four months old as they can begin to harbor bacteria.
You may also use a small grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, increasing to a pea-sized amount once your child is about three years of age. Keep in mind that you should brush for your child until they are able to hold the brush and continue to provide supervision until they are able to rinse and spit without assistance, typically around ages 5 to 7.
Additional Child Dental Tips for Parents
Aside from cleaning your child’s teeth, being conscious of what you put in your baby’s bottle is vital to keeping their smile healthy. Formula, breast milk and water should be the only things you fill your baby’s bottle with. Avoid putting anything sugary or sweet in the bottle or on their pacifier, as the bacteria feed on the sugar and produce acids which can lead to tooth decay.
Contact Our San Jose Child Dentist
For tips on how to best care for your baby’s smile, speak with a knowledgeable San Jose child dentist. Even if there is not a problem, your baby should have their first dentist visit by age 1, which will allow the baby to grow comfortable with the office setting and help encourage healthy dental practices as they continue to grow.
At Dental Smiles of Willow Glen, Dr. Raymond Lim, DDS, strives to provide impeccable oral care for all members of your family. Contact our office today to schedule your baby’s first appointment!