It is recommended to start cleaning your baby’s mouth before their first tooth appears. You can start by taking a piece of gauze with water on it and wrap it around your finger then rub your baby’s gums and tongue. This should be done twice a day.
When your baby gets their first tooth at around 4 months old you can get a small tooth brush that is made especially for your baby and toddlers. The bristles should be very soft. Be sure to replace their tooth brush when it shows wear. If you live in an area where the water is fluoridated you should check with your doctor or dentist as they may suggest using tooth paste without fluoride until your child is at least 2 years old.
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Fluoride can be harmful to your child if they ingest large amounts of it. Always remember to keep tooth paste out of your baby’s reach. When you use tooth paste only use a small dot. It should be about the size of a grain of rice. You will not have to rinse your baby’s mouth after brushing as you are using such a small amount of tooth paste.
You will not need to start flossing your baby’s teeth until they have enough teeth that they are touching each other.
If your water is not fluoridated your doctor may recommend fluoride drops or tablets. They may also suggest using fluoride tooth paste. Your doctor will be able to advice you about the best choices for your baby.
You should start taking your baby to the dentist when they get their first tooth or when they are a year old.
There are some foods you will not want to give your baby at snack time. It is better to serve them at mealtime. By serving them at mealtime the foods will probably get dislodged and won’t be on their teeth as long. It helps if you serve them with water, too. Some of the foods to avoid for snacks are fruit, dried fruit, juice, and peanut butter and jelly. Some starches to avoid are bread, crackers, pasta and pretzels.
Don’t give your baby a bottle of milk, juice, formula or sweet drinks when you put them to bed. It may cause tooth decay.
By using these guidelines your baby will have great dental checkups and be on their way to a lifetime of healthy teeth.