Healthy teeth and gums are vital to children’s general well being. Good dental care starts therefore before the first baby teeth arrive.
Dental care before the first tooth appears: Wrap a clean gauze around your finger and gently wipe your baby’s gums and tongue.
Dental care once teeth arrive: Again, wrap a clean gauze around your finger and wipe the front and back of each of your baby’s teeth. Clean them in the morning and before bed.
If your baby doesn’t mind, you can introduce a small, soft toothbrush designed for children. Use only water on the toothbrush until your baby is 18 months old.
Dental care for kids 18 months or older: Use a small amount of low-fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush and help brush your child’s teeth following these steps:
- Place your baby in a position where you can see his mouth
- Cup your baby’s chin in your hands, with his head resting against your body
- Clean his teeth using soft, circular motions
- Lift the lips to brush the front and back of the teeth and at the gum line
- Once you have shown your baby how to do it, let your child try to do it independently.
Support your child to brush independently
The best way to support children to get into the habit to brush their teeth by themselves, is to model the behaviour for them. So whenever it’s time to brush teeth, also brush your own and show your child how you do it.
How to prevent the early tooth decay?
Baby teeth are at risk of decay as soon as they come through. You may prevent it by following the following precautions:
No sugar: Babies aged 0-6 months need only breast milk or formula. After 6 months, water is the best option. Sugary drinks, fruit juices and sweet food is a major source for tooth decay.
Don’t put your child to sleep with a bottle: Milk is quite high in sugar. Soaking your baby’s teeth in it while sleeping can cause tooth decay.
Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (1 July 2020)