As a parent, you’re anxious to make sure that everything happens at the right time. The first few years of your child’s life can have a huge impact on the years to come, so it’s especially important to get things right. This extends to your child’s oral health and hygiene as well. As your child grows up, establishing healthy habits and routines is going to be extremely important. As a baby, however, the most important things are visiting the dentist and having their teeth brushed. Here’s a little info on when to start this regimen, as well as how to accomplish it.
When Should I Start Brushing My Baby’s Teeth?
When it comes to brushing, the best time to start is actually earlier than you might think. You should actually start brushing before your baby’s teeth even grow in. While brushing their gums is not nearly as vital as brushing their teeth will be, it’s still a good idea. Getting into the habit early is smart, and it can go a long way towards getting them used to brushing later on. Brushing your baby’s gums is also a good way to keep their mouths clean and prevent any bacteria from growing. As their baby teeth start to grow in, your routine will have to change.
How Do I Brush My Baby’s Gums?
Your baby’s gums are very sensitive, so using a toothbrush is not recommended until they’re a little older. To brush your baby’s gums, just use a damp washcloth and gently wipe the top and bottom gums. You can also buy a silicone baby toothbrush to use instead of the washcloth. The silicone brush goes right on the tip of your finger and you can use it to gently brush the inside of your baby’s mouth. This is a little more convenient for you than the washcloth method. The important thing is making sure that you’re being gentle. Babies’ mouths are very sensitive.
When Should I Brush Their Gums?
The best time to wash your baby’s gums is right after they finish eating. Because babies eat soft food, there shouldn’t be any crumbs or particles in their mouths. But it’s still important to wipe away the leftover food, just to make sure that bacteria don’t start to grow. If you gently brush their gums after every meal, that should be more than enough. As they get older, you can establish more traditional brushing regimens.
Why Are Baby Teeth Important?
As your child’s baby teeth start to grow in, you’ll have to start brushing them twice a day. It might seem like taking care of baby teeth isn’t too important – after all, they just fall out, right? However, baby teeth are still extremely vital to your child’s development. Baby teeth play some important roles, including:
- Helping your child speak clearly
- Making chewing easier
- Holding space for adult teeth
- Shaping your child’s face
When Should Children Start Visiting the Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that children have their first dental visit around twelve months old, or six months after their first tooth erupts. This might seem a little early, especially since a trip to the dentist is often so difficult for children, but it’s important to start these things early. It can be helpful to find a dentist who specializes in pediatrics, so they can make the process a little easier. They can go through and create a regimen that kids understand and feel comfortable with. The sooner this begins, the better.
Why So Early?
There are a few reasons why visiting the dentist at only a year old is recommended. The first is that it helps to normalize the experience for your child. Kids are often afraid to visit the dentist, so getting them used to the office can go a long way. Going to the dentist also helps to keep your child’s baby teeth healthy and well-preserved. Tooth decay in baby teeth can lead to a ton of issues for your child, including:
- Pain and discomfort
- Infections that affect overall health
- Difficulty speaking
- Damage to the permanent teeth underneath
- Loss of the space needed for permanent teeth to grow
Finally, visiting the dentist early can help to instill healthy habits and regimens in your child that will serve them for the rest of their lives. It’s never too early to start developing good oral health habits, especially for children. To find out more, give us a call today!