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Start Oral Healthcare Early

A baby smiling with a few teeth

The importance of oral healthcare and hygiene cannot be emphasized enough. Not only can bad oral hygiene lead to cavities and gum disease, but it can also cause unexpected issues such as diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune system, and even depression.

Therefore, it is necessary to start oral healthcare as soon as possible. Good dental care begins when a baby’s first tooth appears. Teeth may start to form within the first year of a baby’s life. In fact, some babies are born with natal teeth, which are teeth that are not fully developed or may have weak roots. If natal teeth exist at birth, you’ll want to see a pediatric dentist as soon as possible as this is not so common and may cause issues for your newborn’s health.

To ensure that your children’s dental health is taken care of, below are some tips to help you begin the process of oral care for your little one.

  • Before the baby starts teething, cleans their gums by running a clean, damp washcloth over them to get rid of harmful bacteria.
  • Once you notice that their baby teeth are starting to sprout, use an infant brush to clean their teeth. Use water and a tiny bit of non-fluoride toothpaste. Only use toothpaste that carries the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of acceptance. If you are using fluoride toothpaste, ensure the amount is about the size of a grain of rice – no more. Fluoride is a great tooth cleaning agent, but it’s not meant to enter our bellies. 
  • As their teeth grow enough that they start to touch, you can begin flossing between them, especially if the teeth are tightly packed.
  • A child should learn to spit while brushing around the age of two or three.
  • Kids between the age of 3 and 4 should start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and learn to brush their own teeth. However, it would help if you continued supervising them while brushing until they turn at least 8 to ensure regular habits and ensure all teeth are brushed on all sides.  

By teaching healthy habits early on, you’ll set the foundation of good oral health for them, and they are more likely to carry these habits later on in their lives.

It is unnecessary to start their regular dental visits until the first teeth emerge unless, of course, natal teeth are present.  If you live in Parker, CO, consider visiting Little Rockies Pediatric Dentistry for consultation.

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Image Credit: File ID 1314133 | © Violet Star | Dreamstime.com

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