Caring for Baby's First Teeth
Keep your infant's maturing mouth clean by applying a moist washcloth to the gums every day. This washcloth can keep bacteria from building up in your baby's mouth, especially if he continues to bite into toys and other household items. But when your baby's first teeth appear, switch to a small, soft-bristled toothbrush.
After your baby's first tooth arrives, it's a great time to start with regular dental checkups as well. The American Dental Association Mouth Healthy site recommends scheduling this first dental visit after the first tooth erupts and no later than the child's first birthday. Your baby's teeth and gums will be examined at this visit, and it's important to use a safe and gentle teeth-cleaning product at home, such as My First Colgate™ toothpaste for infants and toddlers, which is geared toward children up to the age of two, because it contains no fluoride and is safe if accidentally swallowed.
You can start using fluoride toothpaste when your child learns how to spit at about the age of two to three years old. By this point, a majority of the primary teeth should have erupted in your child's mouth. Be sure to use just a smear of fluoride toothpaste during brushing.
Make sure to brush your child's mouth twice a day just like you would for yourself. Remember that having regular childhood dental care will help set the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. There's nothing better than a happy, smiling baby looking up at you with a priceless, toothy grin!
About the author: Diana Tosuni-O'Neill is a licensed registered dental hygienist in New York and New Jersey with over 25 years of clinical experience in dental hygiene practice. She was employed for over 15 years with the team dentist for the sports teams the New York Giants, the Brooklyn Nets and the New Jersey Devils. Diana is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and a Group Fitness Instructor. Her passion for the dental and fitness fields spans over two decades. She is also a freelance writer specializing in oral health care. She enjoys traveling, gardening, decorating and her fitness workouts. Diana presently resides outside Manhattan with her two children.