Top tips to care for your baby’s teeth

20th September 2015

The importance of keeping your baby’s teeth healthy and introducing your child to good dental habits that are ingrained for life is only now starting to filter through to the main stream population. This guide gives parents all the key info you need at your fingertips.

When to start brushing baby teeth

Baby teeth tend to sprout out at around four to six months – as soon as the first one appears, it needs gentle brushing because plaque is a problem no matter what the age.

You might want to also softly clean your baby’s gums with a clean wet cloth after feedings. This gets them used to dental hygiene from the earliest age and creates the ideal clean environment for their new teeth to appear.

You need to supervise children’s brushing until they are 7 years old.

Also advise them to spit but not to rinse after brushing.

How to brush baby teeth

Here are the steps that have been proven to work best:

  1. Buy an ultra soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste that’s designed for young children i.e. fluoride is necessary as it helps prevent tooth decay, but the typical brands used by adults are too strong for your little one. Check that the fluoride quota is at least 1,000ppm but no more than 1,350ppm.
  2. The easiest position is to sit your baby upright and facing away from as this allows more control when it comes to keeping their head still.
  3. Brush gently in small circular motions for about two minutes, with your main focus on where the gum meets the tooth. This should be done twice a day – in the morning and after their last feed before you put them to bed at night.
  4. When your child starts teething, be ultra gentle as their gums will be very sore.

A great tip is to brush your teeth in front of your baby as often as possible. Since children learn by copying, this will teach them to perceive brushing as a normal part of daily routine.

Tackling a teething baby

Teething generally starts occurring in babies at around six months. This means that the poor little tykes will be suffering from uncomfortably sore, red gums since their teeth will be pushing through for the first time. Some children start earlier – common signs of teething include swollen gums, increased chewing and dribbling, irritability and flushed cheeks.

Here are the best ways to help your little one through this trying time:

  • Do your best to keep them distracted with fun activities.
  • Be vigilant about wiping away excessive drooling or your baby will end up doubly irritated by stinging skin on their chin.
  • Chilled teething rings are a great help as they sooth irritated gums.
  • When you can see your baby is in pain, good solutions are to gently apply (sugar-free) teething gel directly to their gums to numb them, or as a last resort, give them a dose of (sugar-free) medicine designed for babies, such as Calpol or Nurofen for Children.
Why dummies are best avoided

Dummies were once a staple for babies and might seem like a good idea to help with teething problems, but we (and the British Dental Health Foundation are in agreement) advise against making dummies a habit. The reason for this is that dummies place pressure on your baby’s mouth and can cause their fledgling teeth to move out of alignment.

When to bring your baby to the dentist

We suggest you bring your baby along whenever you have an appointment, as this gets them familiar with the sounds and smells of a dental surgery. The first time to book your little one in for a baby dental check-up is usually around 18 months.

Conclusion

Being vigilant about caring for your baby’s teeth and gums from a very young age not only prevents problems developing as they grow bigger, it also ensures your child becomes used to good dental hygiene as an essential part of everyday life. If you’ve any questions about your baby’s teething issues or other dental problems, our trained staff of dentists and dental hygiene specialists are on hand to help.

Remember if either parent is a regular patient at Bow Lane Dental we do not charge for routine check-ups and prevention for your children up to the age of 16.

Call 020 7236 3600 to book or book an appointment immediately online.

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