In your baby's first two years of life, the first set of teeth – the baby teeth – will begin to develop. These early years are extremely important for long-term oral health.
The first couple of years in a baby's life can be a confusing time for parents (particularly first time parents) when it comes to dental care.
The SmileTown Langley Team wants parents to have all the information they need to keep their babies’ first teeth healthy. The following information and tips will help you navigate your baby’s first years from an oral health perspective.
Teething usually starts when your baby is around 6 months old, and the majority of children have their full set of primary teeth by the time they’re 3.
The teething process varies from child to child, most children find this process incredibly uncomfortable. Some things you can do to help relieve your baby's discomfort during teething include
- using your finger to gently massage the gums
- using a cool metal spoon to massage the gums (the cool surface offers some relief)
- talking to your pharmacist or doctor about prescribing a mild pain reliever if your child is exceptionally uncomfortable.
Early Childhood Tooth Decay
Tooth decay becomes an issue as soon as your baby’s primary teeth begin to erupt.
The majority of the nutrient sources your child consumes during the first 6 months – from formula, breast milk, and cow's milk, to fruit juice – contain sugar. And, much of solid food you’ll start introducing at the 6-month point will contain sugar, too.
In combination with frequent, prolonged exposure (for instance, if you’re sending your baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup), these sugary foods mean that tooth decay can become a serious problem for your teething baby.
So even at this early stage, cleaning your baby’s teeth and gums is extremely important.
Caring for Your Baby’s Oral Health
Some of the steps you can take to help keep your baby’s primary teeth healthy include
- replacing or diluting milk, formula, and juice in a bottle with water
- gently cleaning your baby’s teeth and gums with a clean, damp cloth or a baby toothbrush after each feeding
- begin flossing your baby’s teeth once two teeth have come in next to each other
- bringing your child to the dentist for checkups and cleanings on a regular basis, starting within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth, or before his or her first birthday.