Congratulations on the arrival of your baby! Are you prepared for the arrival of your little one’s first tooth? Follow these guidelines and your son or daughter will be on the way to a lifetime of healthy smiles!
Caring for Gums
Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, the gums can benefit from your careful attention. After breast- or bottle-feeding, wrap one finger with a clean, damp washcloth or piece of gauze and gently rub it across your baby’s gum tissue. This practice both clears the mouth of any fragments of food and begins the process for building good daily oral care habits.
Baby’s First Tooth
When that first tooth makes an entrance, it’s time to upgrade to a baby toothbrush. There are usually two options: a long-handled toothbrush that you and your youngster can hold at the same time, or a finger-puppet-like brush that fits over the tip of your pointer finger. In each case, the bristles are soft and few.
If your little one doesn’t react well to the introduction of a toothbrush, don’t give up. Switch back to a damp washcloth and try the toothbrush again.
During the teething process, your child will want to chew on just about anything, and a baby toothbrush with a teether can become a favorite toy during this period.
Brushing with Toothpaste
The Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for all children. For children less than three years of age, the CAPD recommends no more than a smear or rice-size amount of fluordie toothpaste.
For children aged three to six, no more than than a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste is recommended. Ask Dr. Leila the right amount of fluoride tooothpaste for your little one.
Don’t give your baby any sort of sweetened liquids such as flavored drinks or soda. Even the sugars present in fruit juice, formula, and milk (this goes for breast milk as well) can cause decay, so regular teeth and gum cleaning is vital.
Also, make sure your little one never goes to bed with a bottle; sugary liquids in prolonged contact with teeth are a guarantee for early-childhood decay, also called baby-bottle caries.
First Visit to the Dentist
It’s recommended that you bring your son or daughter in for a visit after the eruption of the fiirst tooth and no later than the first birthday. Since decay can occur in even the smallest of teeth, the earlier your baby visits us, the more likely he or she can avoid problems.
We’ll look for any signs of early problems with your baby’s oral heath, and check in with you about the best way to care for your little one’s teeth. Remember that preparing for each dental visit with a positive attitude goes a long way toward making your child comfortable with regular checkups.
Setting a Good Example
As part of the natural learning process, little ones are expert mimics, and you can take advantage of this talent. Brush and floss daily while your child is watching, and he or she will intuit at an early age the importance of your good habits.
As soon as your child shows interest, offer a toothbrush of his or her own and encourage your toddler to “brush” with you. (You’ll find toothbrushes with chunky, short handles that are easy to grip.) Most children don’t have the dexterity necessary to thoroughly clean their own teeth until they’re about six or seven, so you’ll have to do that part of the job.
Try different tactics to make brushing fun: flavored toothpaste, a brush with a favorite character on it, or singing songs about brushing. The primary goal is to instill healthy oral habits at an early age to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy, cavity-free teeth!