From the very beginning, the care of your infant’s gums and teeth is so important. You should wipe your child’s mouth with a damp cloth before you put him or her to bed at night. Milk, juice or any other sweetened liquid can leave a residue on the child’s gums, resulting in early tooth decay. Always try to refrain from letting your child go to bed with a sippee cup or bottle. It is a good rule of thumb to only allow your child to drink water after they have brushed their teeth at night. Encourage your child not to share cups, pacifiers, spoons or toothbrushes with other siblings; this may encourage the spread of cavity producing bacteria.
From the time your child starts teething, establish the practice of brushing twice a day. This will help instill good habits in your child’s routine. Start by using a toothbrush with soft-bristles. You can start with only water or toothpaste that does not contain any fluoride. Fluoride can be used when the child is old enough to spit. Water contains different levels of fluoride depending on where you live. It is best to consult with your dentist to determine if an added supplement of fluoride is needed for your child.
To ensure your infant’s oral health:
- Brush or wipe your infant’s teeth clean before bedtime
- Use a soft bristle toothbrush
- Only allow water before bedtime
- Make brushing teeth a fun experience so your child wants to do it
- Consult with your dentist about fluoride use
Be patient while teaching your child to brush. They may throw a fit and cry when you try and brush their teeth, just be patient and persistent and you will prevail. Like anything else, if you stick with it they will eventually appreciate your tender care and attention to their teeth.