Just like the rest of your baby, caring for your baby’s teeth brings with it loads of questions. And, since babies don’t come with owner’s manuals, as a new parent, it’s vital that you educate yourself on the proper way to care for her teeth from birth. New parents have many questions about baby teeth, but they generally don’t have a lot of answers. Thankfully, family dentists in Clearwater and throughout the country are equipped with answers to your questions that will help you care for your baby’s teeth from the beginning. Following are answers to some of the most common questions new parents have about their baby’s teeth that will help all new parents take a bite out of some of the confusion that comes with a brand new baby.
Most babies take about two years to grow two rows of baby teeth. Of course, new parents aren’t going to sit around waiting for that first little tooth to come in to begin a dental hygiene routine. Proper oral hygiene must begin before your baby gets his first little tooth.
So, if it takes two years for your baby to grow those two rows of teeth, do you wait two years? Of course not. The fact is that you should begin an oral hygiene routine for your baby right away. Because she has bacteria in her mouth all the time, it’s necessary that you clean her mouth in order to minimize bacteria buildup and keep her mouth, gums, and all its surrounding structures clean. Before her first tooth starts to appear, you need to begin wiping her gums in order to eliminate as much bacteria as possible. Use a piece of clean gauze or a clean cloth to wipe her mouth clean. Moisten with a small amount of water, but be sure it’s lukewarm. You don’t want to shock her with water that’s too cold or too hot. Use the moistened cloth or gauze to delicately wipe inside her mouth, all around her gums. Do this after each time she eats and again before she goes to bed. This will not only clean her mouth, but it will also get her into a regular dental hygiene routine that she’ll observe later on her own.
Naturally, using a toothbrush won’t be necessary until your baby’s first tooth begins popping up. But when you do see that little tooth starting to emerge, this is when you can start using a little toothbrush. Try a soft-bristled one, or better yet, a toothbrush made especially for little ones. Begin by wetting the toothbrush just as you did the gauze, with a small amount of lukewarm water. You can even add a pea-sized amount of toothpaste if you choose, but make it non-fluoride. It’s also a good idea here to use a toothpaste that’s made for babies. You may begin using a fluoride toothpaste around age two. Brush your child’s teeth (or tooth) until he’s able to hold and maneuver the toothbrush on his own. But be sure to monitor his brushing habits until you’re comfortable he’s doing it right and doing it as often as necessary, at least twice daily.
Take your baby for her first dental checkup right around her first birthday or even before. The American Dental Association’s recommendations are to schedule that first dental visit as soon as that first tooth begins to emerge. There are some family dentists who specialize in the teeth of children, toddlers, and infants. Often you’ll know them by their waiting areas, loaded with kids and activities that help to relax children as they await their dental exams.
New babies come with lots of questions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Naturally, it seems there’s a whole new list of questions as they grow. You find the answer to one question, and there’s another question in its place. Thankfully, family dentists in Clearwater and throughout the U.S. have the answers to your questions. From how to care for a newborn’s mouth, to caring for that first little tooth, and everything in between, your best move as a new parent is to contact a family dentist in your area to get answers to all your questions about your little one’s teeth.