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Five Tips for Giving Your Baby the Infant Oral Care They Need

baby smiling with teeth

As you hold your little baby in your arms, you realize that your world has changed forever. With each passing day, your love for them grows more and more, and you want to do everything you can to make sure they grow up healthy and strong.

As your baby continues to develop, you may not yet have put a lot of thought into their infant oral care. After all, they don’t have any teeth yet! However, even as they look at you with their sweet, toothless grin, now is the perfect time to consider their future oral health.

The team at Toothfairy Pediatric Dental love their young patients, and they are experts at helping new parents with their infant’s oral care. Consider these five important tips to assist you in giving your baby the dental care they need.

1.  Infant Oral Care Begins Before Teeth Break Through

Although a new parent may not realize it, taking care of their baby’s gums is important to help prepare for future teeth. A clean mouth helps keep harmful bacteria away, improves overall gum health, and also helps sweeten your baby’s breath.

However, this doesn’t mean that you stick a toothbrush in your child’s mouth and start brushing! It’s far too early for that. You can, though, take steps to clean your baby’s mouth after they feed. Take a clean washcloth and dampen it with warm water. Then, gently clean your child’s gums with the cloth. This will be sufficient to keep their mouth clean and healthy.

If you’d prefer, you can also find infant “toothbrushes” on the market. They are a piece of silicone or rubber that fits over one of your fingers. The “brush” has rubber nubs on it that help gently clean the mouth. Some parents find this method more convenient than using a washcloth.

If a baby’s mouth is not cleaned regularly, they could develop oral thrush. This infection can cause great irritation to the baby and can also be passed on to a breastfeeding mother.

2.  Make Their First Dentist Appointment

Good infant oral care includes having your baby seen by a pediatric dentist. A good rule of thumb for the first dentist appointment is to schedule it around the first birthday. However, if a baby tooth breaks through sooner, call your dentist once it erupts. Don’t panic, though! You’ll have plenty of time for them to be seen, but it just serves as a reminder that their first visit will need to occur soon.

Finding a new pediatric dentist can be difficult. For those living in the Reno area, Toothfairy Pediatric Dental is the best choice you can find. Download our new patient forms and bring your baby in for their first exam. We can’t wait to meet you and your child!

3.  Faithfully Brush Baby Teeth

Some parents think that the primary teeth are not important because they will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth when the child gets older. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Good infant oral care is integral in ensuring that adult teeth come in strong and in their proper places.

As your child’s first baby teeth erupt from the gum, they require care, but not the same type of care that older children give their teeth. Brush your baby’s teeth with a soft bristle brush. (Most infant toothbrushes are made with softer bristles.) Although you may be tempted to use toothpaste, it’s unnecessary at this point. A bit of warm water on the brush will be sufficient. If you use toothpaste on a baby’s toothbrush, you can be sure they’ll swallow it! You’re better to wait until they are about two years old to transition your growing baby to a child-friendly toothpaste.

tap water flows from sink

4.  Ensure Your Child Has Access to Fluoride

Fluoride is important to infant oral care, as it helps teeth grow both healthy and strong. Fluoride is often found in public water supplies; however, this is not universally true. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, only about two-thirds of Americans have access to fluoridated water directly from the tap.

If your municipality has fluoridated water, allow your child to drink water from the tap. If you are not comfortable with the overall purity of the tap water in your area, then invest in a water filtration system or pitcher from a company such as Brita. Although these filters will remove unwanted chemicals and minerals, they do not strip fluoride from the water, giving you the best of both worlds. If your city or town does not have fluoridated water, then talk to your pediatric dentist about fluoride supplements to help aid in good infant oral care and healthy tooth growth.

5.  Transition Your Baby to Brushing Their Own Teeth

Your baby is growing! As they begin to progress, you may wonder when they should begin to learn to brush their own teeth. Although there are different schools of thought, most pediatric dentists agree that children should start to learn to brush their teeth around two years of age. Of course, talk to your dentist first to get advice about your specific situation.

To teach your child how to brush their own teeth, get a soft-bristled toothbrush with a short handle. Put a pea-sized amount of ADA-approved toothpaste on the brush and assist them in making the proper strokes. Encourage young children to spit the toothpaste out when finished and not to swallow it. Babies who have grown to toddler age should now brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time. It will be some time until they’ll be able to brush their teeth completely on their own, but, until then, continue to teach them good infant and toddler oral care.

Contact Toothfairy Pediatric Dental for Your Baby’s Exam

You’re asking all the right questions, and you want what’s best for your baby so they grow up with a big, beautiful smile. Let your friends at Toothfairy Pediatric Dental help you get the best possible outcome for your child. Contact us today to set up your baby’s first visit.