It’s important to start your baby off right with quality, routine oral care. Did you know that it’s important to start cleaning a baby’s mouth of bacteria immediately? It’s true! The sugars in the baby’s milk can cause a buildup on the gums. As soon as teeth begin to sprout from the gums, it’s possible to get decay. To start, clean the baby’s gums with a damp washcloth, scrubbing lightly in a circular motion. Be gentle, but keep the process routine—twice every day.
By the time your baby is six months of age, baby teeth will start to sprout up from the gum line. This can be a difficult time for the baby because the teeth poking gup through the gums make the gums sore and red.
Lightly rubbing the baby’s gums and the newly spouted tooth with a wet washcloth, or even your clean finger, can be soothing. Allowing the baby to have a clean teething ring can also be very beneficial. Continue these steps of oral care until the child is about one year old, or old enough that he or she has some teeth to brush.
For a baby under the age of three use toothpaste (there are brands better suited to baby’s than others, and if you have any questions as to which will work best for your child, consult Dr. Bagby). Use the toothpaste on a toothbrush in an amount compared in size to a grain of rice. Brush his or her teeth much in the same way as you would your own: straight, even strokes over the tops of the teeth and then light, circular strokes over the faces of the tooth.
Also important at this young age is to bring a baby in for his or her first dental checkup. Do this before the child turns one. A child’s first dental checkup is beneficial not only because a dentist can check the child’s mouth for any potential problems, but also the child gets an education, he or she gets a first positive experience at the dentist’s office, so that the child will, hopefully, be a youth and then an adult who’s unafraid of the dentist’s office.