Baby teeth are a critical component of a child's oral development and overall health. Today, our West Kelowna dentists share the reasons why it's important to care for your child's baby teeth and when you should start brushing them.
You don't have to start brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush until your baby's first teeth begin erupting, but we highly recommend cleaning their gums every day.
Baby teeth usually start to erupt when children are between six and nine months of age. These teeth are very important, as they help your child eat and speak, and eventually guide the adult teeth into the proper spaces.
Before the First Tooth Erupts
Did you know that dental care for children actually starts before their first teeth start emerging? Every day, you should run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to wipe away harmful bacteria.
Getting into the habit of cleaning your baby’s gums every day from the start will help ensure that, by the time their first tooth comes in, you and your infant are both already accustomed to regular mouth cleanings. Furthermore, because every baby teethes a bit differently, it can sometimes be difficult for a parent to tell when their baby’s first tooth is beginning to breakthrough.
When Your Child Get's Their First Tooth
You should start brushing with an infant toothbrush and fluoride-free toothpaste as soon as their first tooth appears.
Baby teeth have to be cleaned on a regular basis because, like adults, infants can get cavities too. Once your child has a tooth, plaque can start building on the surface of the tooth and cause decay.
Children should brush at least twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed. Flossing can begin once your child has two teeth side-by-side.
Tips for Taking Care of Baby Teeth
Even babies can get tooth decay if good habits aren't implemented. By following these oral health tips, you can help your child's baby teeth remain healthy:
- Avoid putting a baby to sleep with a bottle. It might be convenient but can harm the baby's teeth. When sugars from juice or milk sit on a baby's teeth for hours, they can eat away at the enamel, creating a condition known as bottle mouth.
- Teach your children good dental care habits early. When you show them how to take care of their baby teeth you are starting positive habits that will last a lifetime.
- Visit a dentist who provides children's services by the time they are one year old, or around the time when their first teeth start coming in. This will help preserve the baby teeth until they are ready to fall out and be replaced by the adult teeth.