According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, parents should take their babies to the pediatric dentist as soon as the baby cuts the first tooth. Mouth cleaning should begin at birth and become more frequent once teeth have appeared. Engaging in early dental care and tooth cleaning will help to protect the teeth of children.
The gums of an infant may be cleaned using a soft cloth dipped in water or a soft bristled infant toothbrush. Once the baby grows teeth, brushing should take place twice per day using an adequately sized soft toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. If the child is less than two years old, only a very small smear of toothpaste should be used. A pea-sized drop of toothpaste should be used with two to five year olds.
Since very young children usually do not have the motor skills necessary to properly brush their teeth, parents should supervise the process. This supervision may be required until the child is approximately six years old. Parents can make the tooth brushing process a fun game using colored dental rinses that highlight the areas that the child missed while brushing.
Dental problems like baby bottle tooth decay can occur very early and once a baby is weaned off breast milk, any showing teeth are at risk of becoming decayed. This is one of the reasons it is important to begin dental visits at a very young age. Parents should conduct a regular mouth inspection on the baby or young child in order to make sure that nothing appears unordinary.
Proper dental care for babies includes cleaning their gums from birth, brushing teeth as soon as one begins showing and beginning regular dental visits as soon as the baby cuts the first tooth. Parents will need to assist young children with tooth brushing until the toddlers are able to do it properly themselves. If adults are vigilant about proper dental care for babies and children, there are likely to be less dental issues in later years.