Monday, August 5, 2013

My Baby's First Tooth Just Appeared: Now What?

There are few things cuter that a newborn baby’s gummy little smile. The innocence and complete trust that partner this smile are something to be cherished. Then, one day, the first little tooth appears, and the gummy smile is no more. Your little baby is growing up, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. However, there are a lot of things you should do about it. Even baby teeth require attention to ensure that your little one has a healthy smile for years to come.

So I Should Start Brushing when the First Tooth Pops up, Right?

Well, yes and no. Of course you should start brushing when the first tooth appears, but Kool Smiles advises that you should actually begin brushing your baby’s gums from the very beginning. You can do this with a damp cloth or even just a clean finger. This gets your baby used to the feeling and staves off bacteria.

What About Flossing?

Flossing, on the other hand, can be put off until your little one has two teeth that are touching. For many kids, this is when the molars start to appear, around 18 months. However, some kids have ample space between all of their teeth. In this case, flossing is not required.

What Kind of Toothpaste Should I Use?

Actually, you don’t need toothpaste at the beginning. Parenting Magazine reports that up until age one, water alone will suffice. After that, you should switch to training toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. When you feel like your toddler is old enough to spit after brushing (usually between 2 to 4 years), you can switch to fluoridated toothpaste, but stick to very small amounts, just in case.

So When Does my Child Need to See the Dentist?

For most babies, as long as you take them by their first birthday they will be fine. However, you can take them as soon as the first tooth makes its debut.

How Long do I need to do the Actual Brushing?

Well, it’s going to be a while before your little one has the skills necessary to thoroughly brush his teeth on his own. You can let him start brushing as soon as he can hold the brush, but you should also do a once over just to ensure all of the teeth were cleaned. By age six most kids are skilled and responsible enough to brush unsupervised. Though you should always do teeth inspections just to make sure.

What if I Can’t Get my Baby or Toddler to Let me Brush his Teeth?

This is a very common problem among parents. Some kids just don’t like getting their teeth brushed. Since you don’t want to have to strap them down, you need to come up with ways to make it fun for him. Sing songs while he brushes, come up with a reward system (like reading a book together after the teeth are brushed), or brush your teeth together (kids always like to imitate their mom or dad). The important thing is that you teach your child good oral health habits from the beginning, no matter what. It may be hard at times, but your child’s healthy smile will make it worth it.

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