During the first two years of life, babies begin to develop their first set of teeth – their primary teeth. This period is an extremely important one for building good oral health habits.
These early years can often be a confusing time for parents (especially for first-time parents) when it comes to oral health care.
The Smile Town North Delta Team is here to give parents have all the information they need to keep their babies’ new teeth healthy as the grow. The information and tips below will help you navigate your baby’s first years from an oral health perspective.
Teething is the process of your child’s baby (primary) teeth growing in, and usually begins around 6 months of age. Most kids have their full set of primary teeth by the age of 3.
Although the teething process varies somewhat from child to child, most find it pretty uncomfortable, and even painful. To relieve some of the discomfort your baby experiences during teething, you can try the following:
- gently massage the gums with your finger
- massage the gums with a cool metal spoon (the cool surface provides some relief)
- talk to your doctor or pharmacist about prescribing a mild painkiller if your child is extremely uncomfortable.
Early Childhood Tooth Decay
Tooth decay must go on your list of things to deal with as soon as your child's baby teeth begin to erupt.
Most of the nutrients your child ingests during his or her first 6 months – be they from breast milk, formula, cow's milk, or fruit juice – contain sugar. And many of the solid foods you’ll start introducing at the 6-month point will also contain sugar.
These sugary foods combined with frequent and prolonged exposure (for instance, if your baby goes to bed with a bottle or sippy cup), and tooth decay can become a real problem for your teething baby.
Even at this early stage, taking care of your baby’s teeth and gums is extremely important.
Caring for Your Baby’s Oral Health
To help keep your baby’s growing teeth healthy, some steps you can take include
- diluting or replacing formula, milk and juice in a bottle with water
- cleaning your baby’s gums and teeth gently with a damp cloth or baby toothbrush after each feeding
- begin flossing between any two teeth next to each other in your baby's mouth
- within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth, or before his or her first birthday, start bringing your child to the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.