As a parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your new baby healthy and support their development in every way. This includes everything from regular wellness checks to tummy time, and it also includes dental health. You want your baby’s teeth to come in strong while setting up great habits for as they grow up, and to help you do this, our pediatric dentist in Fuquay-Varina is sharing tips on how to care for your baby’s teeth.
Dental Health in Babies Starts at Day One
You may not think too much about your baby’s teeth, at least, not until you see them erupt. However, you should start “brushing” during those first few weeks after your baby is born, and it’s as simple as using a clean, damp washcloth to very gently wipe their gums. This clears away harmful bacteria and plaque that may cause damage as your baby’s teeth come in as well as gets them used to having their teeth brushed from the very beginning.
Avoid Putting Your Baby to Bed with a Bottle
One of the most damaging things for a baby’s teeth is putting them to bed with a bottle or nursing them to sleep or throughout the night. While late night feedings for infants are unavoidable, as your baby gets older, it’s important to avoid letting them fall asleep with a bottle or nursing. The natural sugars in breastmilk and formula will linger on your baby’s teeth throughout the night and can cause decay, especially on the front teeth. This condition is usually referred to as “bottle mouth” or “bottle rot” and often leads to having baby teeth removed.
As your baby gets older, especially over 12 months, swap out formula or breast milk with a sippy cup that has water in it for bedtime and naps.
Brushing Baby Teeth
Your baby’s first teeth will probably poke through between four and eight months, and when that happens, it’s time to start brushing. You can choose a baby-friendly toothbrush with a very small head and soft bristles, or, you can even try one of the baby brushes that fits over your finger and allows you to very gently brush while the baby chews and teethes.
When it comes to toothpaste for your baby, a little goes a very long way, especially since there aren’t even that many teeth! A dab of baby-safe toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice, is perfectly fine.
Avoiding Sugars for Baby’s Dental Health
As your baby gets older, around six months, and your pediatrician gives you the okay to start adding foods and water to their diet, it is so important to avoid extra sugars. This includes avoiding foods like:
- High sugar cereals
- Sweetened yogurts
- Juice and fruit drinks
- Sweetened pancakes, waffles, or toast sticks
- Jelly or jam
Instead, try plain cereal like Cheerios, adding fruit to whole milk yogurt, and adding unsweetened, natural applesauce to toast sticks and whole wheat waffles.
Scheduling Baby’s First Dentist Appointment
In addition to brushing and avoiding sugar, and even flossing when two teeth are side-by-side, you’ll also want to schedule an appointment with a family or pediatric dentist by your baby’s first birthday. They will be able to provide tips about teething and personalized dental care, look for any signs of decay, and answer any questions you may have. Plus, starting at the dentist early often eliminates worry or anxiety about the dentist.
Schedule an Appointment for Pediatric Dentistry in Fuquay-Varina
If you need to find a pediatric or family dentist in Fuquay-Varina who you can trust to provide the best dental care for your baby, schedule an appointment with us today. Our caring, dedicated team has decades of experience so you can feel confident that your little one is in good hands! Request an appointment using our scheduling form or give us a call at 919-552-2431 today.