Caring for Your Baby's Teeth

After weeks of watching your baby drool and fuss, you finally spot that first little teeth' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >tooth bud popping up through the gums. Over the next couple of years, your baby's gummy smile will gradually be replaced by two rows of baby teeth.

Baby teeth may be small, but they're important. They act as placeholders for adult teeth. Without a healthy set of baby teeth, your child will have trouble chewing, smiling, and speaking clearly. That's why caring for baby teeth and keeping them decay-free is so important. By starting early, your baby gets used to the daily routine.

Caring for Your Baby's Gums

You can start caring for your baby's gums right away. But at first, the care won't involve a toothbrush and toothpaste. Instead, take these steps:

  • Get a soft, moistened washcloth or piece of gauze.
  • Gently wipe down your baby's gums at least twice a day.
  • Especially wipe your baby's gums after feedings and before bedtime.

No.111 - Purge Impurities

This will wash off bacteria and prevent them from clinging to gums. Bacteria can leave behind a sticky plaque that damages infant teeth as they come in.

Brushing Your Baby's Teeth

When the first baby teeth start to pop up, you can graduate to a toothbrush. Your child's pediatrician may suggest waiting until four teeth in a row have come out; others recommend waiting until the child is 2 or 3 years old. Choose a toothbrush with a:

  • Soft brush
  • Small head
  • Large handle

At first, just wet the toothbrush. Soaking the brush in warm water for a few minutes before brushing can soften the bristles even more.

As soon as teeth erupt, you can start using toothpaste in the amount of a grain of rice. You can increase this to a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when your child is age 3.

Fluoride is a natural mineral that protects and strengthens the teeth against the formation of cavities. Using it early in your child's life will provide extra protection for developing teeth. However, dentists recommend that you start fluoride toothpaste when your child can reliably spit out the toothpaste after brushing. Kids get lots of fluoride from drinking water and shouldn't swallow fluoride in the concentration it is in toothpaste.


No.345 - Redness

Children's teeth emerge at different times. Check out this chart to learn more. It can take 2 years before all of the infant teeth have made their way through your baby's gums. The process as each tooth emerges is called "teething." It can be a trying time for you and your baby.

Teething is uncomfortable. That's why your baby cries and fusses in the days or weeks before each baby tooth pops up. Babies can display other teething symptoms, too, including:

  • Drooling
  • Swollen gums
  • Slightly higher than normal temperature

Here are a few tips to relieve your baby's teething pain:

Teething rings. Let your baby chew on a clean, cool teething ring or cold washcloth. Just avoid giving your child anything that is small enough to choke on. Also avoid a teething ring with liquid inside that could break open.

Gum rubbing. Rub your baby's gums with a clean finger.

No.354 - Pores

Pain relief. Topical pain relievers are rubbed on the gums. Those that contain benzocaine should not be used for teething. The FDA warns that such products can cause dangerous, potentially life-threatening side effects. Give your baby acetaminophen occasionally to relieve pain, but ask your pediatrician first. Never give your child aspirin. It has been linked with a rare but serious condition called Reye's syndrome in children.

If your baby is unusually irritable or inconsolable, call your pediatrician.

Preventing Cavities

In addition to caring for baby teeth, you need to protect them. To prevent cavities, only fill your baby's bottle with:

  • Formula
  • Breast milk
  • Water
  • Special electrolyte solutions when the child has diarrhea

Don't give your child fruit juices, sodas, and other sugary drinks. Limit them to 4 ounces a day of 100% fruit juice. Give non-sugary drinks and foods at mealtimes, and use juice only as a treat.

Sweet drinks -- even milk -- can settle on the teeth. This can lead to baby tooth decay -- also known as baby bottle tooth decay. Also at risk are children whose pacifiers are often dipped in sugar or syrup. Giving an infant a sugary drink at nap time or nighttime is particularly harmful because the flow of saliva decreases during sleep. Bacteria feed on the sugar from sweet drinks and produce acid, which attacks baby's teeth.

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