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How to Clean Baby Teeth

baby playing on floor

The minute you held that little baby in your arms, you knew that your life was about to change forever. All of a sudden, your world had completely shifted. You’d been tasked with the awesome responsibility of bringing this life up in the world. That’s a lot of weight on your shoulders!

As your child begins to grow, you may have not given much thought about baby teeth cleaning. After all, your baby doesn’t even have any teeth yet! However, as you stare at your child’s beautiful toothless grin, that is the perfect time to begin thinking about infant oral care.

The staff at Toothfairy Pediatric Dental are experienced in meeting the needs of babies. Our experience has shown us several things we can share with you to help with baby teeth cleaning. Consider these tips when you think about baby’s first teeth.

Baby Teeth Cleaning Begins Before the First Tooth

Yes, you read that right. To clean baby’s teeth, you need to start before the first tooth pops out from the gum. Of course, you’re not actually cleaning the teeth, your simply making sure the gums are clean and free of infection.

To clean baby’s gums before a tooth erupts from the gum, you simply need to use a clean piece of gauze that has been dampened. You can also utilize baby “toothbrushes,” which are simply nubbed pieces of rubber that fit over a finger. After your baby breastfeeds or takes a bottle, swab the mouth out with the gauze or brush. Be gentle! You’ll want to take care as you sweep around the gums. Remember that no toothpaste should be used when cleaning a baby’s mouth.

Why is cleaning the baby’s mouth important? A mouth that has not been properly cleaned can be a breeding ground for infection. Not only could this cause an issue for the baby, but that bacteria can be passed on to the breastfeeding mother and can cause mastitis. So, start getting your baby in the routine of cleaning their mouth when they’re young. There are benefits for both baby and mother.

Baby Teeth Cleaning Once the First Tooth Arrives

Your child has likely been fussy for a few days, and you’re not sure why. Then all of a sudden, you see it . . . a very slight break in the gums. That little sliver of white showing in the gum is your baby’s first tooth getting ready to make its arrival!

You can expect your child’s first teeth to arrive anywhere from when they’re six months to a year old. In all, they’ll have 20 primary teeth that will make their grand arrival. That’s a lot of teeth to keep clean, so as they begin to pop up, there are several things to keep in mind when dealing with baby teeth cleaning.

  • Choose a toothpaste: Find a toothpaste that has the American Dental Association seal of approval. These kinds of toothpaste have been rigorously tested and will help you get the best results for your baby’s new teeth.
  • Use the correct amount of toothpaste: Easy, there! Don’t overdo it! You’ll want to use a small amount of toothpaste since it’s likely your baby will try to swallow it. It’s best to use a dot of paste about the size of a pea. Any more is overdoing it.
  • Utilize a baby toothbrush: Baby toothbrushes have short handles so you can easily work inside your child’s small mouth. They also have soft bristles to ensure that they clean gently. When the toothbrush begins to look worn and the bristles start to fray, throw it away and buy a new brush.
  • Brush 2 x 2: The guidelines for time and frequency of toothbrushing are the same for baby teeth cleaning as they are for all children. Brush two times a day for two minutes a session. Remember, even if your baby has only a couple of teeth, you’re cleaning baby’s teeth as well as their gums.
  • Be gentle: Strong stokes of the brush are not necessary to properly clean baby’s teeth and gums. Be thorough, but gentle, and you’ll clean baby’s teeth just fine.

Mother Holding a Baby

Utilize Fluoride for Strong Teeth

When you purchase a toothpaste for your child, note that it may or may not have fluoride. Why is this an issue? Because fluoride is one of the keys to giving your child strong teeth.

The main source of fluoride is in public drinking water, as many municipalities have seen the benefits of adding trace amounts of it to their water supplies. If you live in one of these areas, allowing your child to drink tap water is a great way to ensure they get the proper amount of fluoride if they don’t have any in their toothpaste. If you prefer to drink tap water that’s been filtered by a purification system like Brita, you’ll be glad to know that fluoride is not filtered out of the water.

However, if you live in one of the areas of the country that does not have fluoridated water, you should ensure that your child is utilizing toothpaste with fluoride so they can receive its benefits. If you’re not sure about what’s the right choice, talk to your pediatric dentist about infant oral care, baby teeth cleaning, and fluoride. They’ll be glad to help you sort it all out.

Make Baby’s First Dentist Appointment

After your baby’s first tooth arrives, you should make an appointment to visit the pediatric dentist within the next six months. The dentist will check the tooth and gums thoroughly, and they will provide you with assistance to make sure you have all the knowledge and know-how needed to take care of baby’s growing smile.

If you live in the Reno area, be sure to bring your child to Toothfairy Pediatric Dental. We’ll give your baby a teeth-cleaning in an environment that’s soothing for baby and parent alike. Our team loves babies, and we’ll give your little one the very best care.

Contact us today to set up baby’s first appointment. We’ll be glad to help you with all of your questions, including insurance. We can’t wait to meet your baby!