We know you’re already juggling a million baby-related things (naptime battles, anyone?), but make sure you don’t forget to take care of your baby’s teeth. As a dentist, from my point of view, it is honestly heartbreaking seeing little ones in pain when they come for dental emergencies that are entirely preventable!
We know, we know – it’s not like your baby came with an instruction manual, but fear not! Let’s dive into the world of baby chompers and gummy smiles as we tell you everything you must know about dental visits and oral care for your little one.
When Should I Take My Baby For Their First Dental Check Up?
Your bundle of joy might not have a full set of teeth yet, but trust us, it’s never too early to start thinking about those teeny-weeny pearly whites.
When should you take your baby to the dentist? The answer – as soon as their first tooth pops up! This could range anywhere from 4-12 months, depending on your little one’s tooth development. This is what the NHS suggests, however if you want a dentist’s tip – go to the dentist yourself and take your baby with you even before their first tooth shows up. This allows your baby to get used to the new smells and sounds in the environment, making their first check-up a WHOLE lot easier for both you and your dentist!
Remember, this early visit isn’t just about getting your baby familiar with the dentist. It’s a chance for you to have your questions answered, get tips on brushing those tiny teeth, and ensure your little one’s oral health journey starts on the right note. Indeed, establishing a positive relationship with their dentist from an early age can really set the stage for a lifetime of toothy grins and healthy mouths.
Practical Tips for Taking Care of Your Baby’s Teeth
Alright, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of baby tooth care. Here are some tips that will keep those baby teeth in shipshape condition:
- Brush their teeth: Start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as that first tooth pops up. Use an infant toothbrush with soft bristles and just a tiny smear of baby-safe toothpaste (with no less than 1,000 ppm of fluoride). We know it sounds like an impossible task to brush the squirmy wiggler’s teeth, but hey, practice makes perfect! TOP TIP: if your little one doesn’t allow you to put it in their mouth, give them the toothbrush to hold and let them do it themselves, even without toothpaste. ANOTHER TOP TIP: Let your baby see you brushing your teeth day after day..it’s only a matter of time before your little one will want to mimic you.
- Make it a routine: Make tooth-brushing a part of your daily routine. Whether it’s during bath time, before a nap, or after an energetic round of peekaboo, consistency is key.
- Snack smartly: Introduce your tiny human to a world of healthy snacks and keep the sugary treats at bay. We know, it’s tempting to hand over those sugary goodies just to witness that adorable toothy grin, but let’s save the real celebrations for special occasions. TOP TIP: A lot of people don’t realise how much sugar fruit juice or squash actually has in it. In between meals and snacks, give your baby only water if possible! Make sure you brush their teeth AFTER their night time feed.
- Lead by example: Babies are adorable little copycats. So, why not make oral care a family affair? Let them see you brushing your teeth – it’s like an interactive brushing masterclass.
- Stay hydrated: Once your baby starts enjoying solid foods, offer them water regularly in a sippy cup. Water helps wash away food particles and keeps those little gums and teeth happy.
- Chew on this: As those molars start appearing, throw in some safe-to-chew toys. Chomping down on these not only eases their teething pain but also helps keep their teeth strong.
As you marvel at your baby’s ever-evolving grin, take a moment to pat yourself on the back (you deserve it!). Remember, every gurgle, every laugh, and every toothbrush is a step toward a lifetime of healthy smiles for your precious bundle of joy. Don’t worry – as your little one grows and learns to brush their own teeth, you can look back at these early dental adventures with a chuckle and a grin of your own. Happy parenting!
Want to Stay Ahead of The Curve?
Rather than worrying about your little one’s developmental progress after they’re born, leave that to us. Take a look at our Grow with Me development toy boxes. We provide a monthly, research-based, sensory box of educational and useful goodies – all with the aim of developing cognitive & motor skills through play, in 0-24 month olds. This leaves you to focus on spending quality time with your little one!