Why Should Parents Take Care of Their Infant’s Teeth?
Teeth aren’t only for eating; they aid in developing speech and language. In addition, baby teeth can impact the development of your child’s jaw. Infection, pain, and misalignment are possible outcomes of neglecting children’s dental hygiene.
What Should I Know About Teething?
Teething typically starts anywhere from 6-10 months of age, but some babies are even born with teeth. Symptoms of teething include mild discomfort and irritability, low-grade fever (<99°), and increased drooling or placing hands or other objects in the mouth.
Here are a few things you can do to alleviate the pain of kids teething:
- Give your kids a cold washcloth or teething ring to chew on.
- Rub your baby’s gums softly with a clean finger.
- Avoid teething gels.
- OTC pain medication – like Tylenol or Ibuprofen for infants over 6 months – may be appropriate, but check with your child’s doctor first.
How Should I Take Care of My Baby’s Teeth?
- You should wipe your baby’s gums with a cloth once a day after meals to keep them healthy.
- Start twice-daily brushing as soon as a tooth comes in, and flossing once teeth touch.
- Use toothpaste with fluoride – avoid “training toothpaste.” Just a “smear” will do!
Transitioning to a sippy cup or open cup by the age of one can help with development. Before then, never place your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup of milk or juice as this can coat the teeth with natural sugars overnight and increase the risk of decay. We encourage breastfeeding for those who want to, but the natural sugars in breastmilk can also increase your child’s risk for decay at night when saliva flow is reduced. We encourage you to brush or wipe the teeth before putting your baby to bed for the night.
Consider the following points:
- Juice is high in sugar and should be given to your child only on rare occasions. White milk should be offered during mealtimes. Offer plenty of plain tap water throughout the day.
- Any habits – pacifiers or thumb-sucking – should ideally be stopped by age 3.
- By the age of 1 (or within 6 months of the first tooth coming in if sooner), take your child to the dentist for their first visit!