How to care for a child’s teeth is a question many parents have for pediatric dentists in Columbia, MD. The fact that you’re asking this question early on is already a good sign for your child’s dental health.

Here are some pediatric dentist tips to keep your baby, infant and toddler’s teeth healthy:

When Should Your Child’s First Pediatric Dentist Visit Be?

Bringing your baby to the dentist early is the best way to get advice on dentistry for children and to check that your baby’s mouth and gums are healthy. Your baby’s first pediatric dentist appointment should be before their first birthday, or within six months of the appearance of their first tooth.

6-months old is usually when your infant’s primary teeth will begin to grow in and it’s important to see a children’s dentist to make sure your baby’s primary teeth are growing incorrectly and to identify any dental issues that may need to be addressed.

In the first dental visit, your dentist will typically perform a modified exam with your child on your lap so he or she can get comfortable with the dentist experience. In this dental appointment, you’ll go through proper dental care best practices, what to do in the event of an emergency, and be able to get answers to any kid’s dentist questions you might have.

When Should You Start Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth?

One of the most common questions that comes up is when to start brushing your baby’s teeth. In fact, you shouldn’t wait to begin an oral care regimen.

  • Before your baby’s primary teeth appear, you can use a clean, damp washcloth to wipe the gums to remove any bacteria.
  • Once your baby’s first tooth appears, you may begin brushing with an infant toothbrush. Avoid fluoride toothpaste until the age of three. Instead, use water or a small amount of baby toothpaste which does not contain fluoride – about the size of a grain of rice.
  • After age three, you may begin supervising your toddler while they learn to brush. Ensure they are using a small amount of toothpaste and are not swallowing any excess. Continue to supervise their brushing until age six.

How to Brush Your Infant’s Teeth

Now that you know the basic milestones of your child’s oral care, we can talk a bit about how to handle their early tooth brushing.

Before age three, sit your child on your lap and face them away from you to perform the tooth brushing motion. Be sure to tilt your child’s head back so you can see all the surfaces of your teeth. Move a soft, children’s toothbrush in gentle circles on all sides of the teeth and gums.

When your child is old enough and you begin using toothpaste, teach them to spit out the excess toothpaste on their own. Avoid using water before spitting out as they may end up swallowing more toothpaste.

Your child may resist you at first during this process but they will become used to this brushing routine as you stick with it. This is also key in instilling a good teeth cleaning routine that will stay with them when they begin to brush on their own, both supervised and later unsupervised.

Hopefully these tips help start your child on a great path of dental care. However, the best way to get information is to schedule your first kid’s dentist appointment. If you have any questions about any pediatric dentistry feel free to reach out!