Did you know that newborns have a full set of 20 baby teeth hidden in their gums when born?
Teeth usually appear between 6 – 10 months, although they can appear as early as 3 months and, a very small number of babies can be born with 1 – 2 teeth!
- You can start cleaning and caring for your baby’s gums before the first tooth appears. Just wipe the gums gently using a clean, damp face washer or gauze, a couple of times each day. (Just remember to wash your own hands first)
- Once your baby’s teeth appear, continue with a soft wet cloth or small toothbrush (designed for children under two) and water. Do not use toothpaste.
- Brush teeth and along the gum line twice a day – in the morning and before bed.
- Use a small pea-sized amount of low fluoride children’s toothpaste from 18 months to six years of age.
Teaching your child to brush:
- Sit your child on your lap, facing away from you.
- Cup their chin with one hand, with their head resting against your body.
- Brush teeth and along the gum line. Brush gently in small circles. Clean all surfaces.
- After brushing, encourage your child to spit out toothpaste and not to swallow it. Spitting out can be difficult for small children. You will need to encourage and show them how to do it and let them practice rinsing and spitting with water.
Make it fun!
Remember your child will need your help until they’re about 6 or 7 years old when they have developed their fine motor skills to do it well, solo.
Teeth don’t have to be brushed in the bathroom if this means your little one will play the game!
Remember, baby teeth help children to eat, speak and guide the adult teeth into position, so it is important to their health and development.
Other things to think about:
- Avoid putting bub to sleep with a bottle; milk can stay in the mouth and on teeth which can cause decay.
- Between 6 – 12 months bub can start to use a cup, but remember, this is a new skill he/she has to learn.
- Stick to water and avoid fruit juices and sweet drinks.
- Likewise, be mindful of bub's diet, too many sweet, sugary foods will not help.
Think about taking your little one with you to your dental check. This helps to eliminate any apprehension or fear when they have their first check. Ask your dentist when your child should start having regular checkups; it usually starts about 2 years of age.
I was impressed with these 2 products I recently saw. The soft gum massaging toothbrushes with anti-choke shield and silicone teething toothbrush. I like that food grade silicone is used and they're BPA free. Handy for teething relief and encouraging little ones to get the hang of learning to brush their teeth.
Available from HaaKaa. Here's the link if you wanted to check them out: www.haakaa.co.nz/collections/oral-care2
(P.S. I'm not an affiliate but thought these were great products.)