Caring For Your Baby’s Baby Teeth: Baby Wellness
Caring for your child’s oral health from the time of birth can impact the rest of their life. Even though your child will lose their primary “baby” teeth, they have an important function until adult teeth come in. And caring for baby teeth is just as important as caring for adult teeth. In fact, healthy baby teeth create a healthy environment for permanent teeth and reduce the chance of adult tooth decay. Baby teeth have thinner enamel and larger pulp than permanent teeth which means they’re more prone to imperfections like cavities. Cavities in baby teeth can alter the permanent teeth below the gums.
Also, baby teeth help the development of your child’s face and jaw, and those little tiny teeth support the facial structure and tissue during their growing years. It’s important for baby teeth and gums to stay healthy to prevent any unnecessary orthodontic interventions or illnesses. So let’s work together to ensure your child has a healthy smile for life!
Teaching your child good oral health habits during their early years will set them up for a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles. Check out our blog about teaching good oral health habits for some tips and pointers.
How To Care For Your Child’s Teeth By Age
Birth to 6 months
Even before your child starts teething, setting a good oral health routine is important. Keeping the gums healthy will help prevent tooth decay when their first precious pearly whites start coming in. You can begin your baby’s oral health routine by gently cleaning their gums with a warm washcloth and water after each feeding. Gently massage their gums with your index finger to rinse away any remaining sugars from milk (and a gum massage for a teething baby will surely be welcomed). Do not give your baby a bottle during bedtime. This will let sugars sit on their teeth for extended periods of time. Teething babies will enjoy cold teething rings or cold, wet washcloths which are great ways to both cleanse their gums and provide some teething pain relief. Did you know that the bacteria that causes dental decay (cavities) can be transmitted from person to person? It’s true, so avoid using your mouth to test bottle temperature or clean a pacifier.
6 to 12 months
At this stage, your baby is starting to eat non-milk based foods and may even sprout some teeth. Continue to gently massage their gums with a wet washcloth after each meal. When their first tooth erupts you can begin to brush with a soft bristle toothbrush—do not use toothpaste yet. Since your baby will be getting more nutrition from foods, you can begin to wean from the bottle and introduce sippy cups. Make sure you’re familiar with the normal appearance of your baby’s teeth and gums. If you notice white or brown spots or anything unfamiliar, that may indicate decay so contact our office for an appointment with your pediatric dentist in Omaha.
12 to 18 months
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and Pediatric Dental Specialists in Omaha agree that your child should have their first dental visit by the time they turn one, or when their first tooth erupts, whichever is first. By this age, your child will be eating a regular diet of nutrient-dense food and should be drinking formula, breastmilk, or no-sugar-added juices from a cup. Your child will likely have several teeth at this point so we recommend brushing with a small smear of fluoride toothpaste twice daily to establish a good oral health routine and to get your child used to the routine. If you haven’t yet scheduled your child’s first dental appointment, contact us today and our helpful team will find a time that works for you at our Omaha location.