Great smiles start young: caring for your baby’s teeth

Having healthy baby teeth helps your child chew, smile and speak properly, and it helps them grow a great set of permanent teeth when the time comes. Here are a few tips for keeping Junior’s pearly whites clean and healthy.

Start early. Did you know you can take care of your baby’s teeth before she even has any? Good oral care starts before teething – and the steps you take to ensure a healthy mouth in your little one can result in great teeth for life! Before the baby teeth come in, clean your baby’s gums a couple of times a day using a soft moistened cloth or a piece of gauze.

Brush, brush. Once teeth start coming in (usually at around 6-12 months), clean them with a soft toothbrush. At first, just wet it. Then, at around age one, introduce them to a non-fluoridated toothpaste. Take turns – you brush front and back, then your child gets a chance. Supervise brushing until she can rinse and spit on her own (around age 6).

Visit the dentist. Your child’s first dental visit should happen around age one – it’s a great time to start building comfort, trust and a healthy attitude towards dental care. Your dentist is a great source for advice about taking care of baby’s teeth, and can counsel you on issues around teething, fluoride and thumb sucking.

Say no to sweet stuff. To prevent cavities, your baby’s bottle should only contain formula, breast milk or water. Avoid juice, pop, chocolate milk or any other sugary drinks. Don’t be tempted to dip a pacifier in something sweet. Bacteria loves sugar – it feeds on anything sweet, produces acid, leading to tooth decay. And it goes without saying that you should limit sugar intake throughout the day, especially between meals.

No bottles in bed. If your child needs a bottle to fall asleep, make sure it’s filled with water. If any other liquid stays in a child’s mouth for a long time, it can cause severe decay, also known as “bottle mouth.” Don’t prop the bottle up for your child – take it away as soon as she’s done or has fallen asleep. But don’t worry, breastfeeding your infant before sleep is perfectly safe. If your child is going to bed with a bottle filled with something other than water, dilute it gradually over a few weeks until they’re drinking straight water.

Remember, healthy baby teeth lead to healthy adult teeth. If you have any questions about your baby’s oral health, please call our office – we’d be pleased to hear from you. You can reach us at 905 637-5463 (KIND) or at

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