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Brushing your Baby’s Teeth: How to Start a Healthy Habit

November 10, 2017

Brushing your child’s teeth may be just another daunting task that is added to your daily parenting “to do” list, but it is more than just a daily task. It is the beginning of your child’s journey to establishing good oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.  

Establishing a good oral hygiene routine starts the day your child is born. It starts with daily wiping of the gums after feedings and extends all the way to brushing those first baby teeth buds that painfully start to erupt when your child is approximately four months. It eventually ends with full brushing of your child’s teeth until they are capable of proper brushing on their own.

We want to help you as you work to establish healthy habits for your child. To help you, we have created a complete guide that will walk you through everything you need to know about brushing your child’s teeth and creating healthy habits.

Healthy Habits Start the Day Your Child is Born

It is hard to imagine, but healthy oral habits start the day your child is born. Of course, you won’t be using a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash just yet, but you will be taking precautions to make sure your child’s gums are healthy.

The healthier your child’s gums are the better chance your child has of developing healthy, strong baby teeth. Keeping your child’s gums healthy is relatively easy. It just takes a little bit of water and some gauze or washcloth.

When caring and cleaning your baby’s gums, do the following things:

  • Use a very soft washcloth or section of gauze. A soft gauze or washcloth is needed so you do not irritate your child’s gums. Irritating your child’s gums can cause your child pain or bleeding gums.
  • Moisten the gauze or washcloth with a little bit of water. Do not over saturate the washcloth or gauze, just get it slightly damp.
  • Use the washcloth or gauze to wipe down your child’s gums
  • Wipe down your child’s gums after every feeding and right before bed. If you are unable to do this at least make sure you wipe your child’s gums at least twice a day.  

Wiping your child’s gums is important because it helps get rid of bacteria. Bacteria enter the mouth from formula and milk that your child consumes. If bacteria are not removed, it will stick to the gums and create plaque. That plaque can, and will, destroy baby teeth as they start to grow in.

Brushing Your Child’s Baby Teeth

Once your child’s baby teeth start growing, it is time to pull out the toothbrush. You may have to use a combination of washcloth/gauze and toothbrush for a while until all your child’s teeth grow in. However, the minute you see a baby tooth growing, it is time to use a toothbrush.

To brush your child’s baby teeth, do the following things:

  • Use only water for the first few teeth. Water should be until your child’s baby teeth fully erupt through the gums.
  • Use a child’s toothbrush that has a large handle, small bristle head, and soft bristles.
  • Use an appropriate amount of toothpaste for your child’s age. Children under the age of three should use toothpaste that is approximately the size of a grain of rice. After the age of three, increase the amount of toothpaste used and use approximately a pea-sized amount.
  • Brush your child’s teeth at least three times a day. Try to brush after every meal, but make sure you brush at least three times a day.
  • Brush all sides of your child’s teeth – front, back, and tops.
  • Gently brush your child’s teeth to prevent your child from experiencing pain or bleeding gums
  • Use a toothpaste that contains a small amount of fluoride in it
  • Supervise your child’s teeth brushing until they are six years old

While brushing your child’s teeth, look for any visible signs of tooth decay. Even though your child’s baby teeth are new, they are not invincible to tooth decay. Visible signs of tooth decay include pits or cracks, white spots, or brown staining. If you notice any of these signs, make an appointment with a pediatric dentist.

Even if you don’t notice any signs of tooth decay, once your child’s teeth start to grow in it is important that you start visiting a pediatric dentist on a regular basis. A pediatric dentist will monitor your child’s oral health and make sure their teeth are cavity-free.

Dr. Maggie Davis is an amazing experienced pediatric dentist located in Palm Harbor, Florida. Our dental staff will gladly answer any questions you may have about tooth and gum care or infant tooth decay. Call our dental office today to schedule an appointment with our kind, caring staff.  

How to Care for Your Toothbrush

June 7, 2016

Passing along proper oral hygiene habits to your kids is an important task. If kids start brushing and flossing at a young age, they’re more likely to carry on healthy habits throughout their life. Many people don’t think about caring for their toothbrush, but it can be just as essential as keeping up with your dental care. As you begin to teach your little ones how to brush, don’t forget to include the following tips for terrific toothbrush care:

  1. Keep your toothbrush in the open air: Frequently keeping moist toothbrushes in a closed or covered container increases the risk of microorganism growth.
  2. Don’t share toothbrushes: When you use someone else’s toothbrush, you expose yourself to their germs and increase your risk of illness. Anyone with a weak immune system or anyone who is sick should avoid using someone else’s toothbrush.
  3. Keep your toothbrush upright: If you store your toothbrush in the upright position it’s able to properly dry before the next time you use it. When you have multiple brushes in the same holder, make sure to keep them from touching to avoid any cross-contamination.
  4. Rinse out your toothbrush: After you brush, be sure to properly rinse out your toothbrush to remove any leftover debris and toothpaste so it’s clean for the next time you use it.
  5. Replace your toothbrush every 3 – 4 months: Kids toothbrushes usually need to be replaced more frequently than adult brushes. When your toothbrush is worn and frayed it’s not able to do its job as effectively.

Teaching your kids at a young age to properly care for their teeth will help ensure that their pearly whites are strong and healthy for years to come. From teaching frequent brushing to flossing, Dr. Maggie Davis is here to help keep your kids cavity-free and smiling. To learn more about how to help your kids care for their teeth or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!