While a toothbrush and toothpaste aren't necessary until your baby's teeth have erupted you should still take the time to clean their mouth and gums each day.
You should begin to notice your baby's first teeth when they are between the ages of 6 - 9 months. These teeth are very important, as they help your child eat and speak, and eventually guide the adult teeth into the proper spaces.
Before Your Baby's Teeth Erupt
Proper dental care actually begins before your child's first tooth appears. Each day, you should run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to wipe away harmful bacteria.
Making the cleaning of your baby’s gums a part of your daily routine right from the start will help ensure that, by the time your baby’s first tooth comes in, you and your baby are both already accustomed to regular mouth cleanings. Furthermore, because every baby teethes a bit differently, it can sometimes be difficult for a parent to tell when their baby’s first tooth is beginning to break through.
Once Your Baby Has Their First Tooth
Once you notice the first tooth you can begin to brush using a tiny dab of toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.
You will need to brush your baby's teeth regularly in order to prevent cavities from forming. Once your child has a tooth, plaque can begin building up on the surface of the tooth and causing decay.
Children should brush at least twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed. As soon as you notice two teeth in your baby's mouth that are side by side you can teach them how to floss.
Ways You Can Help Keep Your Baby's Mouth and Teeth Healthy
Even babies can develop tooth decay if good habits aren't practiced. By following these oral health tips, you can help your child's baby teeth remain healthy:
- Do not, under any circumstances, allow your baby to sleep with a bottle. This can be extremely harmful to their teeth. When sugars from juice or milk sit on a baby's teeth for hours, they can eat away at the enamel, creating a condition known as bottle mouth.
- It is important to help your children learn good oral hygiene habits as early as possible. When you show them how to take care of their baby teeth you are starting positive habits that will last a lifetime.
- Visit a dentist who provides children's services once your little one has their first teeth which should be no later than their first birthday. This will help preserve the baby teeth until they are ready to fall out and be replaced by adult teeth.