Before Baby’s Teeth Emerge
If you want to keep your child’s teeth healthy, it’s best to start before they even emerge. At this point, you and your child can establish important, healthy habits that will serve you well later on.
First, get in the habit of cleaning your baby’s mouth even before there are teeth. You can use a soft cloth or a special gentle cleaner. This will help baby to learn that oral health is a normal part of getting ready for bed, something that it’s never too soon to learn.
Also, don’t send baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup of anything but water. You should also not leave your baby with a bottle for a long period of time. Once they are finished eating, you should take their bottle away so they don’t get in the habit of constantly snacking, which is bad for teeth.
As Baby’s Teeth Emerge
Baby’s teeth will normally start showing up by age 1, but it’s not unusual for teeth to wait until 15 or 18 months before they emerge. Once teeth do emerge, it’s time to start cleaning them in earnest. Brush teeth every day before bed with a soft-bristled brush that has a handle you can grip easily.
There’s no need to floss baby teeth at first. Once the teeth touch, flossing is recommended.
Fluoride is good for baby’s teeth just as it is for yours. If you have fluoridated tap water, have baby drink some, and if not, talk to your baby’s doctor about supplementation.
Pacifiers, Thumbsucking, and Orthodontics
This is something parents worry about: whether letting their child have a pacifier once teeth come in can lead to orthodontic problems. This isn’t a concern as long as your child only has baby teeth. In fact, a more serious concern is that your baby will chew through pacifiers, which can cause them to break off pieces of it or create an environment where bacteria can thrive.
Baby’s First Dental Visit
It’s often recommended that your child visit the family dentist around the age of 1, but it isn’t necessary quite so early. By age 3, your child should definitely see the dentist. The first visit is just a wellness visit and serves more than anything to help your child get used to and comfortable with the dentist. It’s quick and easy. After the first visit, your child should visit the dentist at least once a year, though twice is often recommended.
If you are looking for a family dentist in Philadelphia, please call 610-272-0828 today for an appointment with Dr. Ken Siegel at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell.