WE KNOW DENTAL CARE FOR KIDS is important, even for babies! Here are tips on how you can care for your child’s mouth even before their first sweet smile.
It’s Important That Oral Care Begins Before Teething
Even though your baby’s primary teeth won’t come in until they are around four to seven months old (plus or minus a few months), caring for their gums before teeth come in is important. Before tooth eruption, bacteria can leave behind plaque that can damage teeth as they come in. Also, getting into the habit early never hurts. To prevent bacteria from sticking to your baby’s gums, gently wipe them down with a soft, moistened washcloth, preferably right before putting baby down for the night.
Teething Can Be a Difficult Time For Baby (and You!)
When your baby does finally start teething, it’s very normal for them to be fussy. Common symptoms are difficulty sleeping, decrease in appetite and increased drooling. We also hear parents reporting low-grade fevers when teething…however, high-grade fevers are not normal.
How to Keep Your Child Comfortable
Your baby might seem inconsolable while teething. We know it’s hard but it will pass. Here are some things you can do to soothe and ease their pain:
- Massage their gums. The counter pressure of your finger helps ease teething pain.
- Use teething rings or toys. Even a simple chilled washcloth will work. Chewing soothes the baby as counter pressure relieves pain. When chilling toys or rings, remember to refrigerate instead of freeze.
- Relieve pain. Talk to your pediatrician about pain relief if your little one seems to be having a more difficult time. Appropriate dosage of acetaminophen may be beneficial during painful teething episodes. Avoid teething medications that contain the pain reliever benzocaine.
Once Teeth Appear, Take Proper Care Of Them
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends taking your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday. Once teeth appear you can also begin brushing. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, start brushing your child’s teeth twice a day. Since very young children don’t understand to not swallow toothpaste, a good rule of thumb is to use a smear of fluoridated toothpaste or the size of a grain of rice.
Great oral care starts from the beginning of your child’s life. We’re here to help you at every step along the way. If you have any questions concerning infant oral health care or teething, call or make an appointment with us today. Baby teeth may be small but they are SO important! See you soon at our office!
Your Portland, Beaverton, and Tigard pediatric dentist…..