Caring for Babies First Teeth
Dental Checklist for Infants and Toddlers
Good dental habits begin early, and by caring for your baby's mouth and teeth as early as you can, you will help baby develop good dental habits.
You can use our checklist as a quick reference:
It's never too early to start oral hygiene. You should actually begin cleaning your baby's mouth in the first few months of life. Begin cleaning baby's first teeth as soon as they appear through the gum. Wipe out the mouth gently and massage the gums pads after feeds, and before bedtime with a damp gauze pad wrapped around your finger or a damp washcloth. Hold your baby so that their head rests comfortably in your lap, this will aid stability and provide better visibility. Continue to use a finger wrapped with clean gauze or you may use a very soft bristled child-sized toothbrush with a smear of mild toothpaste when the back teeth erupt.
Sometime around the first birthday, you should schedule your child for their first dental visit. This allows an opportunity to examine the mouth and check oral development. Most importantly, the teeth can be checked for cleanliness. Early dental visits ensure appropriate advice on prevention and the best care plan for your child are made.
Teach a toddler how to brush his own teeth with a low dose fluoride containing toothpaste but supervise closely. Go over his teeth again for cleanliness. Make brushing time fun with songs, games and praise. Brush after every meal at home. If that's not possible, brush every morning and night.
As teeth continue to come in, you may also begin gently flossing between the teeth that touch.After teeth begin coming in, do not send your child to bed with a baby bottle unless it is water only. This can lead to a serious condition called Early Childhood Caries (baby bottle tooth decay).
Avoid sweet snacks/liquids between meals. The sugars will damage the teeth.
After the night brush, give only plain water to drink. Don't undo the hard work of brushing. Otherwise, make it clear that you have to brush his teeth again.
Baby should drink from a cup to prevent coating teeth and gums with milk or other fluids. Fruit juices are acidic and damage the teeth. Give only in dilute form or give water after every drink to rinse his mouth.
Children with a full set of milk teeth should brush for at least a minute. Teach proper brushing techniques to cover every part of the teeth. Be generous with praise. Children will learn to take pride in their clean teeth and sparkling smile.