Baby's are so adorable when they smile and you have no will to stop your heart from melting when you see their wide toothless grin spread across from cheek to cheek. Soon enough, their toothless grin will be filled with small little teeth that will need lots of care to keep them healthy. It is important to keep your baby's teeth healthy not only for obvious reasons like chewing probably and for speaking clearly, but because baby teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth and keeping them healthy when they are babies determines how well their adult ones grow. So, before you spot that one little tooth pop from underneath his/her gum, how soon should you start cleaning their gums before they a tooth springs to life? You can start cleaning your baby's gum right away. Obviously, because they have no teeth, you should NOT use a toothbrush.
CLEANING YOUR BABY'S GUMS
Without any toothpaste, simply wrap a soft moistened washcloth or a piece of gauze around your index finger and rub it gently over his gums. Wipe down your baby's gums and tongue after feeding and right before bedtime and clean at least twice a day. Following these routines will keep bacteria at bay. Infants with no teeth can develop sticky plaque that can cause bad breath and damage their teeth as they begin to grow out.
CLEANING BABY'S FIRST TOOTH
At the sign of the first tooth (usually around 6 months) get a small soft toothbrush with a small head and large handle to give you a good grip. Make sure it can fit in your child's small mouth without causing any bruising.
To start, use toothpaste the size of a grain of rice and gradually increase the size of the toothpaste to the size of a pea. As they grow, begin incorporating toothpaste that contains flouride by the time he/she turns three. This will help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. Brush your child's teeth very gently (front and back) and be sure to brush only the parts with teeth. As your child continues to grow more teeth, help your child brush his teeth until old enough to do so on his own.
Getting your child accustomed to brushing his teeth twice a day will help him get into a routine that can help him well into adulthood. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should take your child to the dentist after his first tooth appears or by the time he/she is a year old. As a reminder, be sure to avoid giving your child candy or foods that can stick to their teeth such as dried fruit, peanut butter, and jelly, pretzels, and crackers during snack time. Rather, give it to time at meal time so the food doesn't sit on their teeth too long without brushing. This way, you can prevent cavities from forming. If you notice brown or white spots or pits on your child's teeth, it might be a sign of tooth decay. Make an appointment with your dentist immediately.