When you’re expecting a baby, chances are choosing a dentist for your child is probably not high on your list of priorities. But good oral hygiene habits should be established almost from the get-go.
Most babies begin teething between 6 and 12 months, but even before that first tooth erupts, it’s a good idea to already be in the habit of cleaning your baby’s gums. Gently scrubbing those little gums with a wet washcloth during bathtime will help remove any bacteria there.
When that first tooth does appear, it’s important to start brushing them immediately. Not sure how to start or what to use? Here are some answers to common questions parents ask their pediatric dentist.
What’s the best way to brush my baby’s teeth?
There are toothbrushes designed specifically for small baby mouths that can be found in any tooth care aisle. Brush twice a day–in the morning and before bedtime–with a thin smear of fluoridated toothpaste (or a dot the size of grain of rice). Don’t worry about rinsing since you’re using such a small amount.
Brush the inner and outer surfaces of your baby’s teeth as much as she’ll let you, and try to brush her tongue as well to help remove lingering bacteria. Replace the toothbrush when it starts looking worn or flattened.
At what age should the first appointment happen?
It’s a good idea to get them to a dentist as soon as that first tooth pops up. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry both recommend that your child see a dentist within 6 months of getting her first tooth, or by her first birthday, whichever happens first.
Do baby teeth really matter that much?
It might seem baby teeth aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s important to take care of them for a number of reasons. They help children chew and speak normally, and also pave the way for permanent teeth when it’s time for those.
What are some other ways to prevent tooth decay?
There are certain foods and habits that contribute to cavities, some that you might not have realized. Juice, fruit, sweets–these are unsurprising, but did you know starchy food can also lead to cavities? Bread, pasta, crackers, pretzels, and other carbohydrates are metabolized into sugar in our bodies. Be sure to offer lots of water when giving children these foods. Another thing to avoid is putting your baby to bed with a bottle of anything other than water–milk, formula, or juice will feed any bacteria in the mouth which contributes to tooth decay.
Looking for a pediatric dentist in Salt Lake City? Contact South Temple Dental to learn about our pediatric services.