Parenting contains a wide array of challenges and experiences that you never imagined before you had a little one of your own. You never knew how good you would feel with your parenting wins or how terrible it would feel when you fail. Parenting is one of the most important jobs you’ll ever do, and you want to do it well!
That begins with keeping your child healthy. You will take your child to the doctor no fewer than five times in their first year of life! You will be monitoring things you never thought you would monitor, and you will pay more attention to your baby’s growth than you ever thought possible!
When that first tooth comes in, you will be overjoyed and proud! The first tooth is usually when parents realize that they should be caring for their baby’s oral health, and we help our patients navigate that experience. Our Plano, TX dentist office knows family dentistry, so keep reading for some tips to help your child get off on the right foot of oral health.
Start Early – While most parents begin paying attention with the first tooth, oral health care should actually begin earlier than that. The ADA recommends cleaning your baby’s gums with a clean, wet cloth starting around three months old.
Stay Consistent – Helping your child learn to brush and care for their teeth is the beginning of a life-long habit (you hope). It is important that you stay as consistent as possible right from the get-go!
Have Fun – Kids will always learn better when they are engaged and having fun! Keep this entire process light-hearted with music, games, or whatever makes your child laugh!
Unfortunately, parents will sometimes dismiss baby teeth as an unimportant aspect of the baby’s health. After all, those teeth are going to fall out, right? While this is true, it doesn’t mean that baby teeth should be ignored. The health of the baby teeth will determine how the adult teeth come in and can possible affect your child’s chance of needing orthodontic care later in life.
Caring for Gums – As we mentioned earlier, a clean, wet cloth is all it takes to care for Baby’s gums. Begin gently rubbing those gums around the three month mark. A cool, wet cloth can be very soothing for a baby whose gums are sore from teething.
Is that a Tooth? – One day, your sweet, perfect baby might begin inconsolable screaming. Check their gums. It could be the beginning of a new tooth. You’ll notice the gums are red and swollen. You can often see the tooth just below the surface. Give Baby something soft and cold to chew on to help ease that pain and bring the tooth through the surface.
Brushing Baby Teeth – In the beginning, you can simply wipe the baby’s teeth with the clean cloth, just as you’ve been doing. Once there are several teeth (or when the baby starts biting your finger!), it will be time to advance to a small finger brush. Brush at least once a day.
Your baby will quickly turn into a toddler who wants to take over the oral health care business. This is an important time of learning and beginning to give your child some responsibility, but it’s not time to let your child have complete freedom. Take a look below to get some tips for how to transition to a child who brushes on their own!
“I’ll do it myself!” – This phrase is common in homes with toddlers, but your little one still needs help. Encourage their independence, and suggest that you take turns. Let the little one brush, then let Mommy/Daddy brush, or vice versa.
Flossers – As soon as your child has teeth that are touching, it’s time to use floss. Traditional floss won’t work well in a toddler’s mouth, which is why we love flossers. The handle makes it really easy for you and your child to floss between their teeth.
The First Visit – This is generally when we recommend the first visit. We keep first visits very happy and fun here at 1st in Smiles. Your child will get to meet the staff, ride in the chair, meet the instruments, and maybe count their teeth! We’ll also answer any questions you have on your child’s behalf.
Make an Appointment Today!
Is it time for your little one to make a trip to the dental office? Contact us to set up an appointment. We would love to see you both very soon, so call today! Check back in a few days for our next blog as we continue to look at your child’s dental health needs as they age.