There are several reasons why dental care should begin from nearly the time of birth: to build a strong, healthy foundation. The mouth provides human beings with two major abilities: the ability to speak and the ability to eat to digest nutrients which are essential for survival and overall health. Experts, worldwide, agree that dental care should actually begin even before a baby develops their very first teeth.
When Do Teeth Begin To Form?
It is a common misconception of parents and caretakers that you should begin taking care of your child’s oral health when they begin teething, or when the first tooth visibly appears. This is because the teeth actually begin to develop as early as the second trimester. This means that once your child is born, they already have (under the surface of their gums) up to twenty “baby” teeth and a developing jaw. Although babies do not consume any solid food for quite some time, it is still important to clean their gums daily, so that there is no buildup of bacteria from breast milk or formulas.
How Do I Care For Such Little Gums?
Everything about babies is cute and little, including their tiny little oral surfaces. Before your child begins the teething process, be sure to clean their gums with a wet, clean wash cloth. This will wipe away any food (milk) particle residue, which can lead to issues later in life. If milk or juice stains are left within the mouth, this can easily eat away at the sensitive, developing enamel.
The Very First Teeth!
Once you see the teeth begin to form and make their way through the gums, it is time to introduce a pediatric tooth brush and take your child to their very first dental cleaning and checkup. Your dentist will determine whether your child should begin brushing with special fluoride toothpaste and at what dosage and frequency.
Additionally, they will review any products being used at home, such as bottles and pacifiers. They can work alongside your pediatrician to determine if you are using the correct bottle and if pacifier time should be limited to avoid deformities in development of the teeth, gums and jaw line.
Once you see a few adjacent teeth, it is time to introduce flossing to the mix. However, it is important that when brushing your child’s teeth, if they are under three years old, the amount of toothpaste should be very limited, to avoid swallowing of any excess paste.