Too often, parents fail to see the importance of taking care of their children’s “baby” teeth because they think of them as temporary. This lack of attention can lead to rampant decay, infections and pain. Follow these guidelines to keep those little chompers healthy.
A Gummy Smile
Even before their tiny little teeth come in, babies are really prone getting yeast infections, otherwise knows as thrush. Clinically called candida albinas, it is caused by an overgrowth of a fungus and can easily be passed back and forth between mom and baby. This condition is also easy to treat but don’t wait to have it checked out because it can be uncomfortable for your little one and it can come back if the medication isn’t used for the entire prescription.
To help prevent infections, you will need to wipe the inside of your baby’s mouth after feedings and at bedtime. Milk and formula left to sit undisturbed can curdle and get pretty gross. Although a small clean wet cloth works fine, I personally used Spiffies. They are fluoride free but the xylitol (a sugar alcohol used for flavor) actually helps to kill germs. Rubbing the gums with these can also bring relief to teething babies too.(click on image to purchase through Amazon)
A Toothy Grin
What an exciting time when baby’s first teeth start to come it! Here is a basic eruption schedule:
Although every child is different, you can use this guide to keep track of when to expect certain teeth to make an appearance. Often times, the gums will be sore during this process so do yourself and your child a favor by keeping a few teething rings or washcloths in the freezer as they help with discomfort. Over the counter topical pain relievers are also available in most drug stores. As soon as you see a tooth, it’s time to switch to a little baby toothbrush or finger brush. Babies aren’t usually born with the types of bacteria that cause germs, but they are exposed to them from mom and dad kisses as well as sharing spoon and pacifiers. (yes, some parents hold the pacifier in their own mouth before giving it to the child… please don’t do this!!) Once a species of bacteria is passed to the baby, it will stay with them for life so make sure to brush any visible teeth twice a day.
As far as products used to clean the teeth, focus on brushing really well but don’t concern yourself with any fluoride products for such a youngster. They don’t quite know how to spit the extra down the drain and if the toothpaste tastes too good, they might want to eat it.
A Full Set
As soon as your child shows an interest in holding the toothbrush, let them do it! When most of the primary teeth are in place (around 2 years old), it’s time to think about a first visit to the dentist. Believe it or not, lots of kids this age are cooperative and able to stay still long enough for a visual exam and quick polish. Often times, the back teeth are very pitted and need to be checked for decay. Just like brushing their teeth, trips to the dentist help them understand the importance of a healthy mouth and gets them use to having their teeth examined. Another thing to remember is that whenever teeth are touching, they need to be cleaned with dental floss. As you can imagine, toddlers won’t have the skills necessary to do a great job with this, so it’s up to parents to get food and plaque from in between the teeth. One great approach is taking turns. Your child brushes for ten seconds and them mom or dad gets a turn. Repeat this process until all of the teeth are sufficiently brushed and flossed. Trust me, this can take a lot of patience but it’s worth it in the end.
**Thank you Bobbi for sharing the adorable photos of your twins!!
If you have any questions about baby teeth and how to care for them, feel free to leave a comment!