My Baby is Getting Teeth!!
Knowing what to do when those first teeth start poking through is the first step. Caring for your little one’s teeth is critical to ensuring their overall health and instilling good habits. With that in mind, we thought we’d share some tips on pediatric oral hygiene.
Don’t wait to start cleaning. A clean damp washcloth does wonders for the gums. As soon as that first tooth pokes through, begin twice daily brushing.
Get that baby to the dentist! It should happen sooner than you might think. Dr. Tillman recommends that the first visit
occur by the age of 1 or 2 years old, but no later than 3. The first visit is really more of a meet and greet. Dr Tillman wants to make your child feel comfortable with someone else looking in their mouth. This will pave the road for future “happy visits”. They will get to sit in the BIG CHAIR with Mom or Dad and they will get to meet our hygienist and Dr. Tillman. We will do as much of an
examination as they will sit through. Ideally Dr. Tillman wants to take a look in their mouth, checking their gum tissue and counting teeth. As your child grows Dr. Tillman will do more and more at each visit until they are ready for their full blow cleaning every 6 months.
Using the correct items:
- Toothpaste – until age 3, you should only be using a small dab (grain of rice size) of fluoride toothpaste. From about ages 3 to 6 that can increase to the size of a pea. If your child is not able to effectively spit, have them tilt their mouth so the paste dribbles out into the sink so that they won’t swallow it.
- Soft bristled toothbrush –Dr. Tillman recommends using something very soft and age/size appropriate – children’s brushes are sold with recommended age ranges listed, so they should be easy to find.
- Floss – you should begin flossing for your little one as soon as they have two teeth that touch. Doing this as a family can
encourage good habits for both you and your baby.
- Rinses – If you are uncertain that your little one can rinse and spit without swallowing, we suggest avoiding rinses. Typically around age 6/7 they will have this skill down. At this point Dr. Tillman recommends using a fluoride rinse twice a day under close adult supervision.
Make it FUN!! Usually singing 2 rounds of “Happy Birthday” is the approximate amount of time your little one should be brushing. KEEP THEM EXCITED!! Once your child is a little older, let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. This can motivate them to use the items that they have selected. Just be sure to double check their work and help them get to the areas they might have missed.