Baby’s First Year
One By One
There are many developments that take place during a child’s first twelve months of living. Among them is the eruption of the first baby teeth. Baby teeth typically begin to enter the mouth between 4-6 months. By their first birthday, children usually have their front teeth erupted into place with the back teeth soon to follow. It is important to start children on the right path of good oral hygiene practices to ensure a lifetime of a healthy smile. Here’s what to do:
- Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth.
- Fluoridated toothpaste used twice a day, morning and evening, is recommended for healthy teeth.
- When the first teeth erupt around 4-6 months, start brushing with a smear of fluoride toothpaste.
- By age 5-6 and older, a pea-size amount of toothpaste is sufficient to clean the entire mouth.
- It is best to monitor children until you are comfortable knowing they are taking the time to do a proper job of cleaning their teeth.
- Introduce flossing when your child has two teeth that touch. Habits learned early in life tend lend to a healthy mouth and a lifetime of care.
By one year of age, all children should have a dental evaluation. This can be as simple as a look into the open mouth to look for signs of early childhood decay. During this visit is also a good time to apply fluoride varnish to the teeth. Fluoride helps to make teeth stronger and more cavity resistant.
If you don’t already have a dental home, now is the time to find a dentist for your child and the rest of the family. Tooth decay is one of the most chronic disease conditions and yet it is entirely preventable. Start taking your children to the dentist for professional treatment and avoid the needless pain and discomfort of dental decay.