Because babies’ teeth don’t appear until around six to eight months of age, it’s a natural misconception that they don’t need dental care. But the steps you take as the parent of an infant can help your baby maintain good oral health and develop healthy dental habits in the future.
It’s easy to take care of a baby’s teeth and gums, especially when oral hygiene for your infant becomes part of the normal daily routine. Learn more about how you can promote good dental health for your baby with these tips and considerations.
Taking Care of Baby’s Oral Hygiene
- Dental Hygiene for Birth to Six Months. Cleaning your infant’s gums is important! Hold your baby in your arms, and with a clean, moistened washcloth wrapped around your index finger, gently massage his or her gums. This helps your baby get used to oral hygiene early!
- Dental Hygiene for Six to 12 Months. After teeth begin to appear, it’s time to switch to a soft, children’s toothbrush for teeth cleaning. Research has shown that fluoride toothpaste is safe and recommended for use once your baby’s first tooth arrives. The correct amount is just a "smear" or about the size of a grain of rice. Gently brush your baby’s teeth after each feeding, in the morning, and before bedtime, just as you did before teeth appeared.
- Good Bedtime Habits. One of the most important things you can do to protect your infant from tooth decay is to avoid the habit of putting baby to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water. Use other soothing bedtime activities, such as rocking and lullabies, to help your baby drift off to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics had great information about building bedtime routine, including 1. Brush, 2. Book, and 3. Bed. This refers to brushing teeth, reading a book to and with your child, and then putting your child to sleep. Healthy routines make healthy children!
Partner With Us, Your Child's Dentist!
Your baby should receive his or her first dental health checkup by the age of one year, and no later than 6 months after he or she gets the first tooth! Even though your infant may only have a few teeth, Drs. LaRee Johnson, Clark Morris, Gentry Byrd, and Anne Baker can assess the risk your baby might face for oral diseases that affect hard or soft tissues. Drs. LaRee Johnson, Clark Morris, Gentry Byrd, and Anne Baker can also provide you with instructions for infant oral hygiene, and explain what steps to add as your baby grows and develops.
Carolina Pediatric Dentistry is your partner for good oral health, and we’re here to make caring for your baby’s dental hygiene and health easier and more enjoyable for you.