Finding that tiny white nubs have suddenly popped up through their gums is definitely one of the most exciting and adorable sights in a baby’s first year of life. Most babies begin to develop teeth between the ages of 6 and 12 months, but when should you start managing your child’s oral health? Keep reading to find out when it’s time to start brushing your baby’s teeth.
When to Start Managing Your Child’s Dental Health
You don’t have to wait until baby’s teeth begin to form before starting their oral health care; you can actually start within a few days of birth! Leaving milk to sit on your baby’s gums for long periods of time can cause irritation, so using a warm, wet cloth or gauze, gently wipe baby’s gums after feedings. Starting dental care early helps to prevent damage to baby teeth as they arrive and gets them used to having their mouth cleaned.
How to Start
Baby teeth are tiny, but they are still important enough to take care of as soon as they pop through the gums. When the first tooth appears, use a wet, soft-bristled toothbrush and a smear of toothpaste the size of a rice grain to clear away bacteria twice a day. Make gentle circles on front, back and top surfaces of every tooth and along the gum line.
It is also important to replace your child’s toothbrush ever 3 or 4 months (or sooner if it shows signs of wear) and be sure to gently floss two teeth that touch as soon as your child has two teeth that touch. A floss pick may be best, rather than using traditional string floss.
If Your Baby Hates Brushing Their Teeth
Not every baby loves having their mouth cleaned, especially if their gums are sore or tender. If your child’s dental care routine becomes difficult, these suggestions may help:
- Be gentle: Your baby’s gums are sensitive, even when they aren’t teething. If they become especially resistant, try using a soft washcloth and be as gentle as possible.
- Singing: A tiny distraction can work wonders. Singing your child’s favorite song while cleaning their teeth or slightly altering the lyrics to mention toothbrushes or flossing may help soothe their tiny tempers.
- Make it into family fun time: Seeing mom or dad brushing their teeth and having fun can encourage your baby to enjoy their dental care routine.
- Let them explore: Your baby may be curious about their new toothbrush or wash cloth. Allowing them to examine their dental care tools or hold your hand as you brush their teeth just might encourage them to enjoy the task even more.
It’s never too early or too late to start protecting your child’s teeth. Starting early is a great way to get them used to practicing a proper dental care routine that will last them a lifetime.
About the Practice
Remmers Dental has been a fixture in the Louisville community since 1966 and still has two Remmers on staff. Drs. Stephen Remmers, Emily Brown and Kenneth Remmers work together to help patients of all ages achieve and maintain the healthy smiles they deserve. If your baby is just starting their dental health journey and you’re looking for the right dentist to help protect their tiny grins, contact the office at (502) 499-0234 or visit the website to schedule their first dental appointment.