Three Need To Know Tips To Keep Your Baby’s Teeth Healthy
The moment is unforgettable. You see a white bud that could be your baby’s first tooth. This is an exciting milestone, but sometimes it can turn your little one’s smile upside down, as erupting teeth can cause distress and minor pain. This rite of passage is the perfect time to collect tips on teething and begin thinking about your child’s dental care.
What To Know About Your Baby’s First Tooth
Though most babies will develop teeth between 6 and 12 months there is a wide range of variability of when a first tooth may appear—some babies may not have any teeth by their first birthday! At three months babies are exploring the world with their mouth and have increased saliva and start to put their hands in their mouth. Many parents question whether or not this means that their baby is teething, but a first tooth usually appears around 6 months old.
Once you begin to see your baby’s first tooth, it’s time to start learning everything you can about your child’s developing teeth. The first thing you should know is that baby teething order occurs in pairs on the bottom and top teeth, though one can erupt a little before the other. With such a varied time range, your baby may be cutting her first molars and cuspids, for instance, at the same time. It’s also completely normal if your child starts teething earlier than six months. You’ll see teething signs as your baby may begin to seek relief by chewing on toys or may drool excessively even as early as four months old.
Three Tips That Will Ensure Happy, Healthy Teeth for Your Baby
Parents have a lot to learn about taking care of their baby’s teeth, so here are a few quick tips to get you started.
Tip #1 — Alleviate teething pain
While teething usually only causes mild discomfort, some nights might be especially rough for your baby. As a parent, it is natural to want to alleviate that pain, but it is important to do so in a safe and healthy way for your young baby. Don’t use teething tablets, gels with benzocaine, homeopathic teething gels or tablets, or amber teething necklaces — all of these are potentially harmful to your child.
Instead, parents can help ease the teething pain by massaging their baby’s gums with clean fingers, offering solid, not liquid-filled, teething rings, or a clean frozen or wet washcloth. All of these are safe and effective ways to reduce your baby’s distress.
Fortunately, many children will have no problems at all when their teeth come in!
Tip #2 — Start brushing immediately.
Once your baby’s first tooth arrives, you should be brushing them twice a day with a smear of fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice, especially after the last drink or food of the day. Remember not to put your baby to bed with a bottle—it can lead to tooth decay.
Also, you should make sure that your child is getting additional fluoride, which is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay by hardening the enamel of teeth. The good news is that fluoride is often added to tap water. Give your baby a few ounces of water in a sippy or straw cup when you begin him or her on solid foods (about 6 months of age). Speak with your pediatrician to see if your tap water contains fluoride or whether your child needs fluoride supplements.
Tip #3 Make your first dental appointment.
Try to make your baby’s first dental appointment after the eruption of the first tooth and by his or her first birthday.
Both the AAP and the AAPD recommend that all children see a pediatric dentist and establish a “dental home” by age one. A pediatric dentist will make sure all teeth are developing normally and that there are no dental problems. He or she will also give you further advice on proper hygiene. If you don’t have a pediatric dentist in your community, find a general dentist who is comfortable seeing young children.
While it’s tempting to make the appointment with your own dentist, your child will be far more comfortable with a specialized pediatric dentist office. Not only are pediatric dentists trained to work with children but the equipment they use is child-sized and far less frightening to your children.
At Sea of Smiles, we pride ourselves on providing the best pediatric dentist for your children in a child-friendly environment. Both of our kid’s dentist offices in Yardley (267-392-5878) and Bensalem (215-433-1840) can provide excellent dental care for your children. If you’d like more information about Sea of Smiles please contact our offices today to schedule an appointment.