Many parents don’t worry about taking care of their baby’s mouth until teeth begin to appear, but infant oral care should begin the day they’re born. Bosede Adeniji, DDS, at Kids Dental Center, encourages parents to set the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth with routine oral care that begins with cleaning their baby’s gums and graduates to brushing as teeth grow in. If you have questions or concerns about your baby’s oral care, call the office in Greenbelt, Maryland, or book an appointment online.
Infant oral care begins the day your baby is born. You should clean their gums twice daily and after feeding to prevent bacterial growth.
To clean your baby’s gums, you can wrap a damp, clean gauze or baby washcloth around your finger and gently wipe their gums or use a soft infant toothbrush and water.
Using plain water is fine from birth through the age of six months. Whenever your baby’s first tooth grows in, you should switch to toothpaste.
Your baby’s first tooth erupts around six months. Over the next few years, their baby teeth continue to grow in. Your toddler should have all 20 baby teeth by the age of three.
When the first tooth erupts, begin brushing their teeth by using a soft, infant toothbrush and a child-safe fluoridated toothpaste. You only need a small dab of toothpaste — about the size of a grain of rice.
Your infant needs their baby teeth to chew food and develop speech. Baby teeth also serve as place markers that help adult teeth grow in properly.
In other words, even though baby teeth are temporary, it’s still important to prevent decay. One of the top causes of infant tooth decay is their bottle.
Baby bottle tooth decay is most likely to occur when teeth are exposed to formula or juice for a longer time than it takes infants to feed. For example, putting your baby to bed with a bottle may bathe their teeth with excessive cavity-causing sugars.
Your baby may also be at risk for cavities if your water isn’t fluoridated. If that’s a concern, call Kids Dental Center and ask for ways to safely boost your baby’s fluoride intake.
You should schedule your infant’s first dental visit by the age of one or within six months of when their first tooth comes in. At this age, they don’t need a full dental exam.
Your child’s first visit lets them meet the team at Kids Dental Center and become familiar with the dental office. Dr. Adeniji will attempt to perform a quick, visual exam, but the goal is to keep this visit upbeat and nonthreatening, setting the stage for future anxiety-free dental visits.
If you have questions about caring for your baby’s teeth, call Kids Dental Center, or use the online booking feature to schedule an appointment.