5 Tips to Care for Your Baby’s Smile

5 Tips to Care for Your Baby’s Smile

At least 46% of children aged 2-19 have one or more cavities in their baby or adult teeth today. As a parent, you can make things different for your child by starting smile care now when they’re still just a baby.

At Kids Dental Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, our team, led by caring pediatric dentist Bosede Adeniji, DDS, believes in starting smile care early from the moment your baby arrives, in fact. Because babies are still far too young to do their own smile care, we focus on educating parents about how to establish good habits.

In honor of National Smile Month, our June blog focuses on the top five ways you can care for your baby’s smile from the very beginning of their life. 

Schedule a pediatric dental checkup 

The American Dental Association recommends the first pediatric dental checkup at 12 months, or whenever your baby’s first tooth breaks through. As soon as your baby is born, they can potentially develop oral health problems, like gum irritation or infection. 

They become vulnerable to tooth decay as soon as they get their first teeth. The first dental checkup screens for problems and helps educate you about caring for your baby’s smile. 

Start brushing early 

We explain brushing recommendations during your baby’s first checkup. It’s important to start early before your baby has teeth. We recommend using a special baby toothbrush and brushing gums with water until your baby’s first tooth erupts. 

When their first tooth appears, start using fluoride toothpaste. A small smear around the size of one grain of rice — is perfect for babies and kids under 3 years old. Then, you can increase the toothpaste to a pea-sized amount. 

Limit bottle use to feeding

Many babies develop bottle mouth caries — tooth decay due to prolonged direct contact with milk or juice. This usually happens when parents allow babies to fall asleep with a bottle. While babies might find the bottle soothing, having anything except water in the bottle can quickly lead to tooth decay. 

We recommend using bottles only for feeding and never going to bed with a bottle. For soothing, a pacifier is a better choice (but do your best to use pacifiers only when your baby wants to suck but isn’t hungry). 

Ease teething discomfort

Teething is a real pain, and your baby will probably let you know about it. When they get fussy, cranky, restless, or drool a lot, lightly massage their gums. It can help ease pressure and make your baby feel better. A teething toy, made of sturdy rubber, can help ease discomfort, too. 

Watch for oral health problems 

When brushing your child’s teeth, check their mouth carefully for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or other problems. Signs include:

If any of these problems arise, we can help you stop the issue in its tracks, so your child can still develop a healthy smile as they grow. 

We hope these tips help your family have a happy and healthy National Smile Month. If your baby’s due for a visit with our friendly providers, call us at 301-345-2881 or reach out online now. 

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