Birth to six months of age:
Each day, take a clean piece of gauze or a clean washcloth and wipe the baby’s mouth. If you are able to breastfeed your baby, this has been shown to reduce the incidence of the kind of tooth decay that results from exposing a baby to sweetened drinks. Avoid giving the baby a nighttime bottle with anything other than water.
Six to twelve months of age:
As soon as the first tooth appears, parents should be helping the child brush their teeth twice a day with a small, soft-bristled brush. Use only a small smear of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). Consult your pediatric dentist about starting regular examinations. Ask the dentist if a fluoride supplement is recommended but do not use any kind of fluoride mouth rinse. Schedule your child’s first dental exam when his first birthday is coming up.
One to three years old:
Continue brushing the child’s teeth twice daily, using a small smear of fluoride toothpaste. As soon as teeth begin to touch, begin to floss the child’s teeth once daily. The more consistent you are in helping your small child care for his teeth, the more your child will learn good habits that can last a lifetime. Follow your dentist’s recommendations for an examination schedule.
Above three years of age:
When the child begins to brush his own teeth, supervise how much fluoride toothpaste is used. No more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste should be used at each brushing. Continue twice-daily brushing and daily flossing and examinations on your dentist’s recommended schedule.
Caring for baby teeth:
Proper at-home and professional care of baby (deciduous) teeth is important because these teeth help maintain the correct positions for the permanent teeth that will be taking their place. Premature loss of a baby tooth may increase the chance that orthodontic treatment will be needed later in life.
A baby tooth that decays and becomes infected can also affect the appearance and health of the permanent tooth. By the age of 12 or 13, all permanent teeth except wisdom teeth have normally come in.
Thumb-sucking and dental health:
Thumb-sucking is normal for infants. Most babies stop by the age of 2. But if it continues past the age of three, a professional evaluation is recommended since prolonged thumb-sucking can cause crooked teeth or bite problems.
Diet and dental health:
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry offers these recommendations to help your child maintain healthy teeth:
- Serve sticky foods (like dried fruit) or starchy foods (like bread, pasta or potato chips) with a meal, not as a snack. Stock nutritious snacks to help your child learn a lifetime of healthy eating.
- Save sweet, sugary foods for special occasions and limit intake.
- Maintain a healthy diet with a balance of vegetables, fruits, meat or beans, grains and milk.
- Consult your pediatric dentist with any questions about your child’s diet.
Pediatric Dentist in Laurel, Maryland
Dr. Davis is known for his gentle touch with all his patients, especially the young ones. We understand the importance of making it comfortable for our young patients in their first visits with the dentist. Let us help your children get started on the road to a lifetime of healthy teeth. Call us
to schedule appointments for children of any ages.