Happy mother teaching her baby how to bush teeth

Brushing Baby's Teeth: How To Get Started

You're a parent now. Congrats on that. With that comes the responsibility of caring for this little bundle of joy. Which means feeding, burping, changing, sleeping, and repeating. Somewhere amid that simple yet chaotic formula, your child will begin to teethe. And as soon as they do, those little chicklets need tending to. Those are their baby teeth. The sooner you start caring for your baby's teeth, the better chance of thwarting off any signs of tooth decay. And that makes for a healthy baby and happy parents.

Why Baby Teeth are Important

You may not realize it, but the importance of baby teeth can't be understated. Baby teeth help your child with:

  • Speaking
  • Smiling
  • Chewing
  • Space holding

Let's dive deeper into that last one. This means their baby teeth are reserving a space in the jaws for their permanent adult teeth to come in eventually. However, suppose a baby tooth is lost prematurely. In that case, the adult tooth might drift where it shouldn't, leading to overcrowding and a crooked smile. The baby tooth could have been lost to decay and cavities. At a young age, it can be quite painful for your little one. No parent wants any of this. This makes it all the more important to perform good oral care from the time they're infants. Plus, daily brushing and watching their sugar intake will help. It's never too early to be healthy.

When Does Teething Begin

Teething is one of the first recognizable signs of growth with your baby. You'll most likely experience the baby's irritability from the discomfort of teething well before you actually see any teeth pop out. The ADA says you might see them start erupting anywhere from 6 months to 1 year. But by the time their 3rd birthday rolls around, they should have a full smile of all 20 baby teeth. A baby teething chart can also help make sure all of their teeth come in as they should. Typical teething symptoms include:

  • Frequent drooling
  • Fussiness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble sleeping

Some common sense and these tips will help get everyone through the teething stage. However, a fever, diarrhea, or rash are not common symptoms. You should speak to your pediatrician if your tot is experiencing any of these.

Brushing Baby's Teeth

Their baby teeth are a huge factor in their oral health. But before their pearly whites erupt, their gums should also be cared for. The ADA recommends that simply wiping their gums with a wet washcloth or gauze can do a number on any plaque buildup. Concerning how you should brush their teeth once their teeth erupt, you should:

  • Use a soft-bristled baby toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste after eating and before bed, and remember to clean between their teeth when 2 teeth touch
  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a grain of rice for children younger than 3-years-old
  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a pea for children 3 to 6 years old
  • Brush (back and forth and in circles) both morning and night (for 2 minutes) and try to make it as fun as possible, so your child grows up enjoying brushing

It's time to take them on their first trip to the dentist when they turn 1 or when their first tooth pops out. There, the dentist will let you know that good oral care will keep your baby happy and your baby's baby teeth healthy. That means proper brushing with fluoride, cleaning between teeth, regular dental checkups, and a healthy diet are your baby's best friend: that and a teething ring. You'll see.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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