In the first two years of life, babies develop their first set of teeth – their baby teeth. This period is an extremely important one for good oral health.
This can be a confusing time for parents, and especially for first-time parents, when it comes to oral care.
The SmileTown Langley Team wants to make sure that parents have all the information they need to keep their babies’ smiles healthy. So, here’s some information and tips on navigating your baby’s first years from an oral health perspective.
Teething refers to the process of your child’s baby (primary) teeth growing in. Teething usually begins around 6 months of age, and most children have their full set of primary teeth by the time they’re 3.
Although the teething process varies from child to child, most children find this process incredibly uncomfortable. Some things you can try to help your baby feel more comfortable during teething include
- gently massaging the gums with your finger
- massaging the gums with a cool metal spoon (the cool surface provides some relief)
- talk to your doctor or pharmacist about prescribing a mild pain reliever if your child is extremely uncomfortable.
Early Childhood Tooth Decay
Once your baby’s teeth begin coming in, tooth decay must go on your list of things to deal with.
The vast majority of the nutrients your child ingests during his or her first 6 months – from breast milk, formula and cow's milk, to fruit juice – contain sugar. And, many of the solid foods you’ll start to introduce at the 6-month point will also often contain sugar.
Combine these sugary foods with frequent, prolonged exposure (for instance, if you’re sending your baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup), and tooth decay can become a real danger for your teething baby.
That’s why – even at this early stage – taking care of your baby’s teeth and gums is extremely important.
Caring for Your Baby’s Oral Health
Some steps you can take to help keep your baby’s growing teeth healthy include
- replacing or diluting formula, milk and juice in a bottle with water
- gently cleaning your baby’s gums and teeth with a clean, damp cloth or baby toothbrush after each feeding
- begin flossing your baby’s teeth as soon as there are two teeth next to each other
- start bringing your child to the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth, or before his or her first birthday.