While oftentimes overlooked, taking care of your child’s mouth from the day they are born is very important to their overall oral hygiene. From the moment their first tooth erupts, cavities can develop. By gently cleaning your child’s teeth and gums with a clean, soft cloth following each feeding, you can help prevent the onset of cavities at a young age.
Teething is a milestone most often dreaded by parents. Usually beginning around the age of six months, the teething process can be a tedious and painful one for your child. To comfort a teething baby, offer a cold, firm, and clean teething object and consistently clean their teeth and gums with a soft, clean, cool, damp cloth. When the first tooth appears, you can begin brushing with water. To keep track of your child’s development as more teeth come in, record them in a journal. In total, your child will have 20 baby teeth.
At approximately one year old, it is time for your child’s first visit to a pediatric dentist. For most children, this will be an introductory visit, exposing them to the environment. If you have already begun using a baby toothbrush, there should be minimal fear associated with the instruments used. At this time Dr. Wolff will meet with you to discuss brushing habits, finger/thumb/pacifier sucking, teething and developmental milestones.
Prior to the age of one, it is recommended to brush with water or infant toothpaste. As you near 18 months, your child may be ready to begin learning to brush their own teeth, with your support and supervision. Starting with a very soft toothbrush, add a half-a-pea-size drop of fluoride toothpaste and work with your child to maneuver it. At the age of three, the size of the drop can be increased to full pea-size. Monitor your child to make sure that they do not swallow the toothpaste. While not dangerous, ingestion of too much fluoride can cause discoloration…
Baby teeth will not come out until the permanent teeth are ready to erupt; typically beginning at the age of six. Losing a first tooth is a great way to celebrate your child’s evolving oral development. If you’d like to make their experience fun and unforgettable, now is the time to introduce the tooth fairy. This will not only ease your child’s fear of losing additional teeth, but have them looking forward to the process.