7 Ways to Protect Baby's New Teeth
There are many ways to help protect your baby’s new teeth. Offering the right foods and drinks can help protect new teeth. Giving your baby a cup instead of a bottle when he is ready can help limit the amount of time liquid sits in his mouth. (Even breastmilk and formula contain sugars that can leave residue on the teeth!) As with adult teeth, baby teeth also need to be cleaned every day. Below are seven ways to protect your baby's teeth.
Bringing drinks to bed can allow liquids to pool around your baby’s teeth and cause tooth decay. He may get thirsty at night and need a drink, but it is best to keep bottles and training cups out of his crib. If he does get thirsty, offer him water in a cup (over 6 months).
Foods low in added sugar, such as vegetables and fruits, help to keep a healthy smile. Offering your child a variety of foods is the first step in teaching him to love them. Not only will it help give him healthy eating habits early, it will also help develop healthy teeth! If these are the foods he has always eaten, they will be a natural first choice.
If you use a pacifier, there is no need to make it more appealing. Dipping your baby's pacifier in honey, sugar or a sweetened beverage can lead to tooth decay.
Another way your baby can get cavity-causing bacteria in his mouth is through shared saliva. This can happen when you clean off his pacifier or spoon with your mouth. Doing so passes the bacteria in your mouth to his. When his pacifier falls on the floor, wash it with warm, soapy water instead.
This means as soon as your baby’s teeth start to appear. His brand new teeth need to be brushed twice daily. A small amount of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice, will do the trick. Choose a toothbrush that is made for babies. These toothbrushes’ bristles won't be as harsh on his soft gums and teeth as a regular one would be. Once your toddler reaches age three, bump the toothpaste amount up to the size of a pea. Make sure he spits out the toothpaste when done.
As your baby grows into a toddler, it is important to get him involved in the process of taking good care of his teeth. This will lead to good lifelong habits. You can do this by giving him a choice in what he uses to brush his teeth. A fun colored toothbrush he gets to pick out might make him more willing to brush his teeth each morning and night. Once he starts to become interested in brushing his teeth on his own, let him give it a try. His first try may not be perfect, but be sure to praise his efforts. You can then go over his teeth again to show him how to get the spots he might have missed.
You might be wondering when this should happen. Within 6 months of getting his first tooth, or by his first birthday, would be a good time frame for a first appointment. Try making this a positive experience! Kids can feel worried about going to the dentist. Focus on the positives of regular dental visits.