Caring for Your Baby’s Teeth

Ok, I’ll admit that when it comes to tooth care, I am not the best one to talk about it. I have not taken good care of my own teeth; actually, except for daily brushing, I’ve neglected them entirely. I don’t like dentist visits (had a painful experience once), and I actually let one of my teeth rot during my pregnancies rather than get it taken care of. Bad, I know.

But just because I don’t like it for myself doesn’t mean I should ignore my children’s dental needs. If anything, I should teach them proper dental care so that they don’t have to suffer cavities like I have. 

When my oldest was a baby, somewhere around his second or third tooth, I decided to get him a toothbrush. Since then, I have tried to faithfully brush my kids’ teeth twice daily. Here are some things I have learned about children’s teeth care.

– You have to start cleaning their teeth once they begin solids. You don’t have to clean them if they are only breastfeeding.
– Use a soft bristle toothbrush that is made for babies, but don’t buy an outrageously-priced one. Those are no different from regular brushes; they are just made by companies that want your money and know you will pay any price for something that is for your baby if their logo is on it.
   I recently got a good one for Scarlett made by Johnson and Johnson for a decent price. Colgate has decently-priced ones too.
– I remember reading about a dentist who recommended using a little gauze on your finger to wipe your baby’s teeth and gums after eating. It may work well, but if your baby is a biter (what teething baby isn’t) you may find a toothbrush will save your fingers.
– Since a baby doesn’t chew its food, you don’t really have to scrub their teeth. Just gently brush them.
– Toothpaste is not needed for babies. I started putting a small smidgen of it on the brush, just barely a hint of it for taste when they were past their first birthday.
– Special children’s toothpaste is not needed, unless you are having a hard time getting your kids to brush their teeth. Mine have always been ok with the regular minty stuff.
– Teach your child to spit the toothpaste out from the beginning. Most will swallow it at first, which is why I put so little to begin with, but will eventually learn to spit it out.
– Let your child see you brush your teeth and they will want to do it to.
– You will have to do the brushing for your child for a few years, until they learn how to do it properly on their own. Right now for my kids, I brush their teeth first, and then let them do some so they can learn how to handle the brush.

Here are a few links with reference to when it is best to begin dental checkups and how to find a good pediatric dentist.

Oral Care and Dental Health for Toddlers and Children
Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
Majority of parents schedule child’s first dental visit two years too late

Which reminds me, I’d better look into finding a pediatric dentist myself.

Mommies, what has your experience been in caring for your child’s teeth and taking them to the dentist? Do you have any tips or advice you would like to share?

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1 Comment

  1. For toothpaste just make sure it is fluoride free :DThe fluoride in the toothpaste when swallowed (which all kids do) will cause fluourosis on the teeth, which is yellow striations on the teeth and very difficult to get rid of (trust me I have it) :DAlso, giving your child the toothbrush once they are around a year old will get them used to 'trying to brush' on their own! Have them mimic you while you brush your teeth and then you can finish up and get the missed spots!!

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