Congratulations on the birth of your new precious child! We want to be sure that you are prepared for his or her first tooth; below is some information to help you get ready for a lifetime of smiles:
Even before teeth erupt, your baby’s gums need attention to stay healthy. You should clean your baby’s mouth with a damp washcloth or towelette after each feeding. This helps get rid of any food particles, and starts the routine of good oral care through desensitization. Massaging the gums also provides a soothing effect, especially with new teeth on their way!
When the first tooth appears it is time to begin brushing, which will also aid in habit formation and desensitization. You can either use a long-handled toothbrush, which will allow you and your child to hold the handle together as you brush, or a brush that fits on your finger. Regardless of the type, always make sure it has soft bristles. At this stage, toothpaste is not yet mandatory, just dip the bristles in warm water prior to brushing.
Once your child has their front two teeth on the top, it’s time to start using toothpaste. Toothpaste that does not contain fluoride works well at this stage of development, unless you are otherwise instructed by your dentist. You only need a small amount of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice), as this way no harm will come if it is swallowed.
To prevent cavities, try to avoid giving your child sweetened drinks like juice, chocolate milk, strawberry milk, and soda. Cavities form due to the frequency of exposure to sugar, not necessarily the amount of sugar they contain, which is why frequent consumption of organic, or watered down juice can cause the same damage to the teeth as full sugar beverages. Putting a child to bed with a bottle of milk also greatly increases the risk of baby tooth decay, as milk contains natural sugars which can cause extensive damage due to the prolonged contact of the sugar on the teeth. If drinking milk or feeding right before bed, it is good practice to wipe the teeth down afterwards with a damp washcloth or towelette as mentioned previously.
Your child’s first dentist appointment should be scheduled at the time the first tooth arrives, or by 12 months of age. If you have any questions about caring for your child’s oral health, don’t hesitate to contact us today at (646) 389-8055!