Help your infant maintain a healthy smile throughout their life. Here are a few key points to get started on a regular dental routine that will help your infant maintain a healthy mouth, teeth, and gums.
Keep your baby’s mouth clean by gently wiping the gums with a clean washcloth. Or use a rubber, finger brush. Once you see the first teeth, gently brush using a soft baby toothbrush.
A type of yeast infection that typically appears as white patches or sores that coat the gums, roof, sides and tongue of your baby’s mouth, can be hard to prevent but easy to treat. If your baby has symptoms with fussiness when feeding or nursing, consider contacting your health care provider. If breastfeeding, thrush can be passed back and forth. Your health care provider may recommend an anti-fungal medication for treatment.
Taking place anywhere from three months to 24 months, some infants will cut one tooth at a time while others will have several teeth come in at once. If your baby is gnawing on everything and constantly drooling that’s a good sign they are teething. Sometimes you can even see indentations in the gums and swelling. This can be painful and your baby will let you know by fussing. Try to comfort and sooth as you normally would by cuddling and rocking. You can also massage the gums with your clean finger or chill (don’t freeze, too hard!) a teething ring for them to chew on.
Around 12 to 36 months your baby will have or start to get their primary or “baby” teeth. As soon as they get their first tooth start brushing with a soft bristled baby toothbrush. Even though the primary teeth will only last a few years they play a super important part in your child’s dental development and will guide their permanent teeth into place. Brush your child’s teeth two times per day for at least 2 minutes. Use a small dab of fluoride toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice until your child’s third birthday. The best times to brush are after breakfast and before bed.
The American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that every infant should see a dentist before their first birthday. The focus during this time is prevention of tooth decay in baby teeth which can negatively affect permanent teeth and lead to future dental and health problems.