Getting started with your child’s oral care from birth will help build habits to ensure a healthy mouth over the course of their life. Healthy baby teeth teach your child how to chew food and shape the way they talk, which is why ensuring they remain healthy is so important. Dr. Mjahed cares for patients of all ages. The information below will help new parents understand how to care for their child’s teeth from day one.
When should I start caring for my baby’s teeth?
Ideally, you should start from birth. Getting your baby used to teeth cleaning from day one will make oral care easier and prevent tooth decay.
Simply use a damp washcloth wrapped around your index finger and rub gently around the gums. Be sure to lift the lips to reach all the spaces bacteria can become trapped. Cleaning the gums helps remove bacteria and sugars from the mouth. It also gets your child used to regular oral care. Do this every morning and evening.
At what age should I bring my child to the dentist for the first time?
After their first tooth comes in or before their first birthday, whichever comes first. At your child’s initial dental appointment Dr. Mjahed will perform a thorough oral assessment to check for cavities on any baby teeth that have come in. Additionally, he will show you how to properly care for your your child’s teeth and can discuss any concerns you may have like handling habits like thumb sucking or how to deal with teething.
When can I use a toothbrush on my child’s teeth?
Most babies tend to receive their first teeth between around six and 12 months old. Once they begin to appear, it’s time to use a toothbrush. Start with a small, soft-bristled brush and a tiny amount of fluoride-free toothpaste. Continue to clean the gums as before where there are not yet teeth. As multiple teeth come in next to one another, you can begin flossing gently to remove plaque build up.
Continue to monitor your child’s mouth and lift under the gums to check for brown or white spots, which may indicate dental decay.
For children 3-6 years of age, increase the amount of toothpaste to a pea-sized amount and continue brushing thoroughly twice daily. At this point, you can switch to a fluoride toothpaste, just remind them not to swallow the toothpaste. Most of the water in North Carolina, including Monroe, contains fluoride. If you live in an area without fluoridated water, talk to Dr. Mjahed about healthy fluoride options for your child’s teeth.
Supervise your child during teeth brushing and gradually reach the point where they can brush their teeth on their own.
How can I help my child go through teething?
As your baby’s teeth begin to come in, their gums may swell and feel tender. Chewing on teething toys or clean washcloths may help ease the pain. Cold feels very relieving, so consider freezing teething rings for more comfort.
How can I help prevent tooth decay?
Bacteria is the number one way to create tooth decay in your baby’s mouth, so pay close attention to what goes into their mouths. Dental decay is an infectious and transferable disease. Avoid sharing anything with your baby that has been in your mouth, like a spoon or toothbrush. Rinse pacifiers and bottle nipples with water and not a towel or your own mouth.
Avoid allowing your child to snack on sugary foods or sip on juices from a sippy cup throughout the day, especially at bedtime. The sugar will cause bacteria in their mouth to form an acid that will eat away at their teeth and cause decay. Offer your child water frequently and particularly after meal time.
Pediatric Dentist in Monroe NC
Monroe Family Dentistry is there for you and your children from day one and we are happy to work with you and your child to start habits from birth. If you live near Monroe, NC call us to schedule an appointment today at 704.776.4278.