You endured countless sleepless nights and have been covered in drool. You waited patiently for those little baby teeth to pop through the gums. Sometimes it’s quick, sometimes it takes FOREVER, but once those little pearly whites are here, they are as adorable as you imagined!
So how do you keep your baby’s teeth clean?
This was a question I asked my dentist, Dr. Bushinger, as well as my friend who is a dental hygienist. I was informed that as soon as those baby teeth pop through the gums, they need to be cared for and protected.
Even before they arrive, parents should continuously clean the gums with gauze or a wet washcloth. This helps remove bacteria and keeps the gums nice and clean.
Once a tooth emerges, parents should continue to clean the tooth/teeth with gauze or a wet washcloth during bath time. If made part of the bath routine, your baby will learn to expect this cleaning process and resistance will be limited (hopefully).
Once several teeth have broken through, you can purchase a small, soft baby toothbrush. Start without toothpaste at first. The baby’s teeth should be brushed twice a day as to develop a routine. At around age 1, parents can begin using a very small amount of fluoride free toothpaste.
As your child shows greater fine motor control AND interest, allow him/her to brush their own teeth. But, remember from my first article, Positive Changes, parents MUST also brush their child’s teeth thoroughly no matter how independent you think they are.
Here are some additional tips for keeping your baby’s teeth clean:
- Never put a baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. The residue will stay on the teeth causing an increase of bacterial growth.
- Do NOT use a pacifier, but if your child really needs it for soothing then make sure you stop using it before age 1.
- Stop using a bottle by age 1.
- If you give your baby any juice, make sure it is VERY watered down.
I hope you have found these tips helpful! Always remember, that healthy teeth means happy kids!
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