Your child does not need to brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste until their teeth erupt. However, you should clean your infant's gums with a damp and clean washcloth every day.
Baby teeth usually start to erupt when children are between six and nine months of age. These primary teeth are very important as they help your child eat and speak and serve as guides for the adult teeth to come in.
Before the First Tooth
Proper dental care actually begins before your child's first tooth appears. Each day, you should run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to wipe away harmful bacteria.
Cleaning your baby's gums daily will help them become adjusted to every-day oral hygiene. Furthermore, because every baby teethes a bit differently, daily cleanings allow the parent to see when the first teeth are beginning to erupt.
When the First Tooth Appears
As soon as the first tooth appears, you should start brushing with an infant toothbrush and fluoride-free toothpaste.
Like adults, baby teeth should be cleaned daily to avoid tooth decay and cavities. Once your child has a tooth, plaque can begin building up on the surface of the tooth and causing decay.
Children should brush twice a day, and once they have two teeth side-by-side, gentle once-a-day flossing can begin.
Tips for Oral Care of Baby Teeth
Even babies can develop tooth decay if good oral habits aren't put into place. By following these dental health tips, you can help your child's baby teeth remain healthy and strong:
- Avoid putting a baby to sleep with a bottle. It might be convenient but can harm the baby's teeth. When sugars from juice or milk sit on a baby's teeth for hours, they can eat away at the enamel, creating a condition known as bottle mouth.
- Teach your children good dental care habits early. When you show them how to take care of their baby teeth you are starting positive habits that will last a lifetime.
- Visit a dentist who provides children's services by the age of one year, or around the time when the first teeth appear. This will help preserve the baby teeth until they are ready to fall out and be replaced by the adult teeth.