There is nothing more exciting to a parent than witnessing the growth of a baby’s first tooth. The joy that is felt when the tiny tooth pokes through the gums is unexplainable. As teeth begin to emerge, parents become concerned about how to best care for their baby’s teeth. One of the first actions that needs to be taken is to get a top dentist who has vast experience working with pediatric dentistry. Dr. Bruce Vafa, DDS and Smile Angels of Beverly Hills can help parents protect the teeth of their precious babies.
Parents should create a routine for caring for their baby’s oral health. This routine can begin months before the first sign of a tooth appears. Parents can begin with caring for and protecting their baby’s gums. Although the gums may not be as exciting as the baby’s first teeth, gums are important to a baby’s oral health. They need to be cared for as much as the teeth because healthy gums create healthy teeth.
Since a baby’s gums may be tender, there are gentle actions that can be taken to ensure they get the proper care and tenderness they deserve. Using a moistened soft wash cloth, parents can gently wipe the baby’s gums. This should be done twice each day without the use of toothpaste or oral cleansing agents.
Parents should not underestimate the importance of clean gums. Cleaning the gums is important because it removes bacteria that can cause plaque from the baby’s gums. Plaque has the ability to remain on the gums and damage a baby’s emerging teeth.
As the first tooth begins to emerge, it is time to purchase and use a toothbrush. The proper toothbrush should be selected carefully. A proper toothbrush consists of soft bristles, a small head and a large handle. Before the tooth fully emerges through the gum, parents can wet the toothbrush with water and gently brush the tooth. After the tooth emerges through the gum, parents can use a small amount of toothpaste to brush the tooth. The recommended portion is about the size of a grain of rice.
This practice can be continued up until the child is 3 years old. After the age of three, parents an increase the amount of toothpaste to the size of a pea.
Parental Supervision and Monitoring
It is important for parents to promote, monitor and model daily oral care habits. As babies grow into toddlers and young children, they become more independent. Many children enjoy being in charge of their own dental care. However, parents should continue to actively monitor and model proper oral care for their children until they have the ability to rinse their mouths and spit without prompting. At the age of six, children are usually capable of handling the responsibility of their dental care with little supervision.
Parents should also develop a habit of regularly inspecting their children’s teeth for signs of tooth decay. Tooth decay in a child is characterized by brown or white spots on the tooth. Any abnormal discolorations should be examined by a dentist immediately.
Regularly scheduled dental visits are a vital part of good oral health. Parents should plan to take their baby to the first dental visit by the age of 1. During this visit, parents can discuss with the dental provider issues such as teething, cavity prevention and baby tooth care.
It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is especially true about cavity prevention. The good news is there are things parents can do to prevent the formation of cavities.
- Avoid giving children sugary drinks.
- Fill a baby’s bottle with water, breast milk or formula only.
- Refrain from putting sweet things on a baby’s pacifier.
- Brush a child’s teeth at least two times per day.
- Allow children to rinse their mouths after eating.
When it is time to schedule your baby’s first dental appointment, Dr. Bruce Vafa, DDS and his Smile Angels team in Beverly Hills is able to provide the quality of care necessary to protect your baby’s oral health. Smile Angels offers affordable children dentistry that fits within any parent’s budget. Call today for an appointment. Your baby’s smile is worth it.