Proper Care And Cleaning For Baby Teeth
Do you have a little baby shark at home? Baby teeth are so adorable, and even though all your little one’s primary teeth will fall out someday, it’s still important to properly care for your baby’s tiny teeth. Improper care during infancy and early childhood can cause problems for your child when the permanent adult teeth take their place. Teeth are essential, not just for eating, but for speech development as well, so take good care of those baby teeth to set your little one up for a lifetime of good dental hygiene.
Your baby’s teeth will erupt in stages. Not every baby follows the same pattern when it comes to teeth, but most babies follow this timeline:
- 6 months: Your baby’s first tooth, or teeth, erupt from the gums. Usually the first teeth are the middle two teeth on the bottom.
- 8-9 months: Your baby’s first few top teeth come in, usually in the middle.
- 9-10 months: Your baby will get lateral incisors.
- 10 months - 3 years: Your baby will get up to four new teeth every few months.
- 13-19 months: Your baby gets the first set of molars.
- 23-33 months: Your baby gets the second set of molars.
Are you curious about when your baby will start teething? Some common signs that teeth are coming soon include excess drooling, drool rashes, swollen gums, unexplained irritability, difficulty sleeping, biting or sucking on toys or hands, fussiness during eating, tugging at ears, and of course, seeing a visible tooth beneath the gums. These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several months. Contrary to popular advice, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not consider diarrhea or fever to be signs of teething.
It’s important to note that it is beneficial to start cleaning your baby’s mouth even before the first teeth erupt. Using a warm cloth, gently wipe your baby’s gums clean after each feeding. There are also small silicone devices that fit on the caregiver’s finger to help brush off excess food.
How do I brush my baby’s teeth?
Once your baby’s first teeth are visible, it’s time to start brushing with a toothbrush (preferably a soft-bristle one with a small head). Using a rice-sized drop of toothpaste, gently scrub your baby’s teeth twice a day. As your baby grows and gets more teeth, you can use up to a pea-sized drop of toothpaste. It is helpful to brush your baby’s teeth twice a day, but if you can only remember once, focus on the night time brushing, as this is most likely to prevent cavities from forming.
As far as flossing goes, you don’t need to worry about flossing your baby’s teeth until they are touching. You can buy kids’ floss picks to make flossing easier for tiny mouths!
Your baby should see a dentist around the time the first tooth appears.
As soon as your baby’s first tooth erupts, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist. Your child’s first checkup should ideally be before her first birthday (unless she doesn’t have any teeth yet). Dentists that specialize in children can detect signs of early tooth decay and can help address any issues you might have with caring for your baby’s teeth.
Tooth decay can happen when your baby’s mouth is constantly exposed to sugar, even the natural sugar in breast milk or formula. You might notice white spots at the gumline, and a cavity might eventually form, causing discoloration.
It is also important to break the habit of putting your baby to bed with a bottle of milk (or juice), which is known to cause cavities in infants. Try not to let your baby drink or chew on a bottle just for comfort. If a bottle is a way of soothing your baby at bedtime, switch to water instead.
Caring for your baby’s teeth is vital to a healthy childhood. Be sure to seek the advice of a pediatric dentist as soon as the first teeth begin appearing, practice good tooth brushing hygiene at home, and your little one will be well on his way to a beautiful, healthy smile!
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.