We addressed teething last month, but knowing when to expect those first chompers is only the beginning. Caring for your young one’s teeth is critical to ensuring their health and instilling good habits. With that in mind, we thought we’d share some tips on navigating the waters of pediatric oral hygiene!
Don’t wait to start cleaning. Keeping your baby’s mouth clean should start before teeth even appear - a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth does wonders for the gums. As soon as that first tooth pokes through, begin twice daily (at least!) brushing.
Use the right stuff.
Be aware of those thumbs and pacifiers. Sucking on thumbs, pacifiers, etc. is a well established natural reflex in young children, and can be important to a child’s development and their sense of well being. It’s important to curb the habit before they get too old, however - in kids over 3, sucking habits can have detrimental effects on their bite and can promote tooth decay.
Watch out for sugar. Really now, when don’t we advocate keeping the sugar intake to a minimum? Teeth and sugar just don’t get along, and baby teeth are no different. Make sure you’re cleaning your child’s mouth after every meal, limiting sugary drinks during the day and after brushing at night (that includes milk at bedtime!) and not dipping their pacifiers in anything sweet.
Get that baby to the dentist! It should happen sooner than you might think - we recommend that the first visit occur by the age of two years old, for sure no later than three. That first visit is really more of a meet and greet - designed to make your child feel comfortable and pave the road for successful future visits. They can sit in the big chair with mom or dad, meet the hygienist and doctor, and go through as much of an examination as they’ll sit through - ideally looking in the mouth, assessing the tissue and counting teeth. As your child grows your provider will do more and more until they are getting a full blown cleaning every 6 months.