Caring for Your Child's Baby Teeth
It’s never too soon to start thinking about caring for your child’s teeth! Good oral health practices begin before the first baby tooth even emerges, and if done right, the benefits will last a lifetime.
Before Teething (0-6 months)
Before 6 months, parents should wipe the child’s mouth and gums with a clean damp cloth or gauze to keep their mouths free of bad bacteria. You will know when your baby begins teething! They will be irritable during the day and nights as their teeth begin to erupt. To soothe the gum, gently rubbing their gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad can be soothing. Once the baby teeth begin emerging, parents should begin brushing a child’s teeth with a child-size toothbrush.
The First Dentist Visit (6 months to 2 years)
Dentists would like to see your baby 6 months after the tooth erupts (but no more than a year.) There might not be much to examine, but baby teeth can have an impact on how permanent teeth come in. During this visit, dentists are assessing your child’s bite, facial growth, and dental development. Among other things, dentists also look at how your child’s baby teeth are arranged. This helps kids speak clearly while providing room for their permanent replacements.
Caring For Primary Teeth (2 to 6 years)
Good adult oral health begins with good primary habits. Around age 2, parents should begin brushing a child’s teeth twice a day. Regular 6-month dental visits should also begin at this age to begin the fight against bad bacteria. Along with helping your child develop good dental practices, food and drink can play a role at this age - try to limit juice intake to 6 oz. per day.
Bye-Bye Baby Teeth (6 to 12 years)
As soon as your child’s teeth begin to touch, it’s time to floss! Around age 6, children will reach the big milestone of losing their baby teeth. They should continue brushing their teeth twice a day while being gentle around the area they lost their teeth. Not all baby teeth fall out at once, it typically takes until age 12 for all adult teeth to come in.
If you start taking care of your child’s oral health early, they’ll be smiling about it for years!
For more information and advice on children’s oral health, visit our Oral Health Resources section on pediatric dental care.