You don't have to start brushing your infant's teeth with a toothbrush or toothpaste until their first tooth begins to erupt, but you should clean your baby’s gums every day.
Baby teeth usually start to erupt when children are between six and nine months old. These teeth are very important, as they help your child eat and speak, and eventually guide the adult teeth into the proper spaces.
Prior To The First Tooth
Proper dental care actually begins before your child's first tooth appears. Each 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 right from the start will help ensure that, by the time your baby’s first tooth comes in, you and your infant are both already used to regular mouth cleanings. In addition to this, every baby teethes a bit differently, so sometimes it can be difficult for a parent to tell when their baby’s first tooth is beginning to break through.
When The First Tooth Emerges
As soon as the first tooth appears, you should start brushing with an infant toothbrush and fluoride-free toothpaste.
Baby teeth must be cleaned on a regular basis because, like adults, infants can get cavities too. Once your child has a tooth, plaque can begin building on the surface of the tooth and causing 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.
Oral Health Tips for Taking Care of Baby Teeth
Even babies can develop tooth decay if good habits aren't practiced. By following these oral health tips, you can help your child's baby teeth remain healthy:
- Visit a dentist who provides children's services by the age of one year, or around the time when the first teeth appear. This will help preserve the baby teeth until they are ready to fall out and be replaced by the adult teeth.
- 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.
- 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.