November 21, 2017

Tooth and mouth care

Children start to get teeth as early as four months old.  This can seem like an early age to begin brushing a child’s teeth, especially if there is just one tooth.  Many parents may find knowing how to care for their baby’s mouth to be difficult and may not bother to do anything.  This can result in early cavities and bad brushing habits later.  Here are a few ideas for caring for infants’ and toddlers’ mouths to maintain a healthy set of teeth and gums.

Brushing Teeth

The best time to start brushing a child’s teeth is right when they get their first tooth.  At first, it is better to use a piece of gauze to wipe plaque off of the baby’s one or two teeth.  However, once a baby begins to get more teeth, it may be time to start using a tooth brush.  This should be done twice a day in order to protect the baby from having a cavity.

Toothpaste

Parents should consult a doctor in order to find out what kind of toothpaste to use.  At first, it is all right for parents to brush with just water, especially if the water to their home contains fluoride.  If the water does contain fluoride, brushing with toothpaste could actually be harmful to a child because too much fluoride can be toxic to a baby or toddler.  It is also important to teach children to spit out toothpaste instead of swallow it for the same reasons.  Parents should monitor children that are just learning to brush their teeth themselves to ensure they are thoroughly brushing all of their teeth.

Pacifier

Some parents worry that giving their child a pacifier once the child has developed teeth will somehow damage their teeth.  For the most part, giving a child a pacifier when they have teeth will not cause any permanent damage to the child’s teeth.  However, if a child hangs on to the pacifier for too long, it can cause the upper teeth to push forward toward the lip.  By helping a baby break the habit of a pacifier will allow those teeth to return to their normal position within a few months.  The main danger of allowing a child to use a pacifier after they have reached one year of age is that they will be less likely to want to practice talking because their mouth will be full.

Dentist

Seeing a dentist once the baby has reached one and a half to two years of age is a great way to ensure great tooth and mouth health for a child.  The dentist will be able to give specific tooth and mouth care advice for each child.  Also, they may be able to recommend safe types of toothpaste.  These visits are usually covered under the baby’s health insurance, if they are included under their parent’s insurance.  But, make sure to check the health insurance policy to be sure.

Taking care of a child’s mouth is a very important part of ensuring a healthy and happy child.  Even though it may seem like a waste of time to brush a child’s single tooth, it will help prevent the child from developing cavities, and it will help the child develop the habit of caring for their teeth.  Parents just need to make sure to use the proper kind of toothpaste.

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