Your baby puts the “little” in Little Heroes. Without all those cute and wonderful children coming in to see us, our sidekicks would be bored out of their minds. Thankfully, we have the pleasure of serving all of your family’s dental needs—from your adorable toddler to Grandma and Grandpa, we know how to get the job done. But our job is only half the battle—oral health care starts at home, and at a very early age. Not sure how to take care of your little one’s teeth? Little Heroes can help you with that. Read on to find some tips on how to care for your baby’s teeth.
1. Start early.
Even before that first baby tooth erupts, you’ll want to get in the habit of cleaning their gums with a soft, wet washcloth. You don’t need to use toothpaste yet, but getting your baby used to having their mouth cleaned can make it easier to transition into toothbrushing later on.
2. Keep it healthy.
Babies aren’t born with a sweet tooth, so you’ll want to make sure to avoid making sugary treats a common occurrence. Consider buying baby foods without sugar, and when they enjoy some fruit juice, dilute it with plenty of water. The best way to help those teeth come in (and stay) strong is to give your infant plenty of nutritious food. If you do decide to let them enjoy the occasional sweet, give it to them as a part of a meal rather than an in-between snack.
3. No sugary drinks in the baby bottle.
Again, don’t encourage any sort of behavior that can form bad eating habits, which will eventually affect your baby’s oral health. Sweet drinks in a baby bottle are especially harmful after teeth have started appearing, as bacteria from the sugar can start to eat away at their enamel and cause severe staining, decay, and cavities.
4. Candies aren’t the only enemies.
Chocolates and candies aren’t the only cause for concern. There are a number of foods that can contribute to tooth decay in infants, so keep an eye out for them. These foods include fruit, dried fruit, juice, peanut butter and jelly, breads, crackers, pasta, and pretzels. It’s in your baby’s best interests to serve these foods at mealtime with water rather than just as snacks throughout the day.
5. Don’t forget to take baby to the dentist.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that you take your little one to the dentist by their first birthday or six months after their first tooth erupts—whichever comes first. Before your baby’s first dentist visit though, their pediatrician should be keep an eye on their teeth. When your little one finally makes it to the dentist, make sure to let the dentist know what type of treatment (if any) your baby has been receiving.
6. Keep an eye on that thumbsucking.
Babies just get a lot of peace and satisfaction from sucking things—this means thumbs as well. While there is no real harm in doing it, and most children will let it go by the age of four, if they continue to do so after this age, you’ll want to help them discontinue the practice. Thumbsucking past this age can pull their teeth out of shape, so encourage them to find other ways to feel secure.
7.Baby teeth coming in? Don’t worry!
Every child is different and their teeth with start to appear at different ages, but generally speaking, you can expect to start seeing them appear around six months, though some children might not start getting their first teeth until after their first birthday. This is when the fun starts:
- Buy your baby toothbrush with a small head that will fit their tiny little mouths.
- Brush their teeth twice a day—once in the morning and once right before bedtime.
- Don’t overdo it with the fluoride toothpaste. A little bit goes a long way (a grain sized amount will do the job).
- Be gentle with your little ones. Brush the inside and outside of their teeth softly and their tongue if possible. Because you should only be using a small amount of toothpaste, there’s no need to rinse.
- Replace the toothbrush when it starts to look old.
- Don’t worry about flossing their baby teeth. Most dentists won’t recommend flossing until tooth surfaces touch and you can’t clean them with a toothbrush.
8. Little heroes can be quite wiggly.
If you started cleaning their gums at an early age, hopefully they are a little used to the routine of cleaning their mouths, but even then little heroes can be quite squirmy.
- It may help you to sit them on your lap, facing away from you, where you can reach their teeth more easily.
- Remember to be gentle and brush in circular motions.
- If your baby won’t stop wiggling around, give them the toothbrush to make them feel more in control. Just make sure to help them so they don’t poke themselves too roughly.
- Babies mimic parents. The more they see you brushing your teeth, the more willing they will be to do it themselves.
9. Oh no!
Experienced parents know that sometimes baby will fall—especially when they are learning to walk. If your little one has fallen and injured their teeth or mouth, make sure to see a dentist immediately. Your dentist will take an x-ray and help you decide what needs to be done. Thankfully though, little heroes can be quite strong and usually all that is needed after an injury is just to keep a close eye on it.
10. Parents! Again—keep it healthy.
Yes, we’ve already covered this before, but the truth is that this is going to be the most important factor to consider. Your baby’s diet will greatly affect their dental health, which means you need to avoid potentially harmful sugars. To make sure they have a great chance at healthy teeth, consider:
- Only providing breastmilk, formula milk, or cooled, boiled water as drinks for your baby.
- Avoid flavored milks and fizzy drinks, as they usually contain lots of sugars.
- Only give your toddler milk or water to drink at night.
- If you purchase baby food, check that they are sugar-free or don’t have any additional sweeteners.
- Is your baby a little sick? Make sure their medicines are sugar-free versions.
Little Heroes Dental is here for you from day one.
Your baby’s teeth aren’t just baby teeth. They are the first step on a long path to healthy adult teeth, so it’s important to help your children learn important oral health care habits. Little Heroes Dental can help you on that journey. Our offices in Laredo, Mission, and San Juan deal in pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, general dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and get your little one on the path to a beautiful, healthy smile.