Even before your child’s baby teeth emerge, you must clean their gums after meals. Wiping your child’s gums removes food particles and prevents bacterial buildup. When the primary teeth do come in, it’s important to know how to care for your child’s teeth to prevent premature dental problems. As your local family dentist in Annapolis, MD, we want to help you follow the best oral hygiene tips to maintain your child’s smile at home.
Baby Teeth Care Tips from Your Dentist in Annapolis, MD
Follow these tips to care for your child’s smile at home:
Encourage Good Oral Hygiene
Brush your child’s teeth with a small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice, and use an infant-sized toothbrush. Before brushing, soak the brush in warm water to help soften the bristles. If your baby does not like when you use a toothbrush, use clean gauze. Once your child turns 3, you can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on their teeth. Ensure that you clean your child’s teeth twice a day or after each meal. You can begin flossing when multiple teeth begin growing and touching each other.
Prevent Baby Bottle Decay
Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle of formula, juice, or milk. Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when your child is exposed to sugary drinks for a long amount of time. Tooth decay occurs when harmful bacteria feed on sugars and starches that build up on teeth. Sugary beverages can be a large contributing factor to tooth decay in children.
Know The Signs of Teething
It can take two years for all of the primary teeth to emerge. As each tooth emerges, babies will want to “teeth”, or chew on objects. Signs that babies want to teeth include drooling, swollen gums, or high temperature. Let your child chew on a cold washcloth or teething ring. Avoid teething rings that contain liquids. You can also provide your child with pain relief, including topical pain relievers you can rub on the gums. Do not give your child aspirin.
Keeping Your Child’s Smile Healthy
Following these tips will help create a solid foundation for your child’s oral health. The primary teeth are important placeholders for permanent teeth. Baby teeth also improve speech and eating abilities and begin to form your child’s facial structure. Keeping the baby teeth healthy sets your child up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
We recommend that you schedule your child’s first dental visit once their first primary tooth emerges. During your child’s first visit, we will examine their gums and tooth (or teeth). Regular dental visits allow us to keep track of your child’s oral development. We can also provide you with tips as needed when it comes to your child’s oral hygiene.
Do you have any questions about caring for your child’s smile? We’re here to help. Call the Annapolis Center for Dental Health and Wellness at (443) 482-5202. You may also request a dental consultation with Dr. Vernon Sheen on our website.