Your baby’s smile is a precious sight, so you want to take steps to keep it healthy. Caring for your child’s mouth begins before baby teeth even appear.
Check out a few quick tips on good hygiene habits for your baby’s dental health.
- Use a soft, damp washcloth to wipe down your baby’s gums. Doing this daily will help wash off any bacteria, and get them used to caring for their mouth.
- When that first tooth pops up, transition to a small, soft-head toothbrush. The American Dental Association recommends a smear of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice at this age.
- Most children begin teething between 4-7 months of age. The ADA and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend you schedule the first dentist appointment within six months of the first tooth appearing, or by the first birthday.
- Don’t allow your child to take a bottle to bed. Milk or juice will sit on their teeth overnight and can cause decay.
- Don’t “clean” a pacifier in your own mouth and return it to the child. That doesn’t clean the pacifier, but transfers plenty of bacteria to your baby’s mouth instead.
- Transition to a sippy cup by one year of age and ditch the bottle.
Good dental health impacts your child’s speech and eating habits, and prevents costly and painful dental conditions in the future. Make gum and tooth care part of your everyday routine for your baby just as you would for yourself.