The eruption of baby teeth is a milestone in a child’s development, and it also means it is time to see the pediatric dentist. Many parents are usually not bothered about dental care for their toddler. However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentist advises that children should have their first dental visit before their first…
Tips From a Pediatric Dentist on Cleaning Baby Teeth
Any pediatric dentist will tell you that good oral health care is important from the time your child has their first teeth. While regular dental visits are important, these do not replace at-home care for young patients. Once your baby’s teeth appear, you need to be diligent about brushing and flossing to prevent cavities and gum disease.
When teeth come in
Teeth emerge in children’s mouths at different times. However, most babies get their first teeth around 6 months after birth. The first teeth are the central incisors in the upper and lower jaws. Lateral incisors come through between 9 and 16 months while canines come between 16 months and 23 months. Molars can emerge as early as 13 months after the child’s birth. By age three, most children will have all the baby teeth in the mouth.
From the time the first tooth cuts through the gums, parents should begin to clean them. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, a parent should gently brush the tooth with water. After feedings, a parent or caregivers should also take a damp cloth and wipe the tooth. This will remove food and other debris. It is also important to wipe the gums and keep them clean. The pediatric dentist can provide further advice on how to clean a baby’s first teeth.
Parents can use toothpaste on a baby’s teeth, but they should only use a small amount. Around age 2, parents can help the child brush with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. From this point, the child should brush at least twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste. It may be helpful to brush even more frequently, such as after the child eats a meal.
When to floss
Some people neglect flossing as part of their daily dental care. This can be especially common among children. Failure to floss can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and bone loss. Once a child has teeth that touch, it is critical to start flossing. A pediatric dentist recommends that this should occur at least once a day, if not more frequently.
Daily rinsing with a mouthwash is another effective way to kill bacteria on gums and teeth. Children are prone to getting tooth decay. Eating foods high in sugar and drinking beverages such as soda and juice can erode tooth enamel and cause cavities. In addition to brushing, using a mouthwash can keep teeth healthy and strong. Parents should consult the pediatric dentist about which products are appropriate and effective.
Prepare for visits to the pediatric dentist
You should start working with your child on brushing and flossing from the time teeth first emerge. Teach your child good oral hygiene habits and there will be less of a chance of the young patient having cavities and other problems. These daily activities will be good supplements to semiannual wellness visits to the pediatric dentist. If you are ready to take your child in for the first checkup, call your dentist today to make an appointment.
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