When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
This is an excellent habit to start early. Your baby’s teeth must be cleaned as they erupt – come through. You can use a small baby toothbrush. If your dentist or health care provider suggests, you can use a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste. Tooth brushing is best carried out by parents in the preschool years. By the time they are 8 years old, children are usually able to brush their teeth effectively. You should to check your child’s teeth regularly for any chalky white or brown spots which could be the beginning of tooth decay.

How should I deal with teething?
Sore gums from teething often occur for a few days at a time between six months to age three. Babies often get relief from a clean teething ring, cold spoon, cold or frozen wet washcloth or toothbrush.  Chilled teething rings or rubbing a clean finger on the sore gum area often helps, too.

When should I take my child to the dentist?
“First visit by first birthday” sums it up. Your child should visit a dentist when their first tooth comes in, usually between six and twelve months of age.  An early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future – it’s all about habits and confidence. There is no need to go through avoidable tooth decay and gum disease. Start good habits early and maintain for the best possible results.

What dental problems can children have?
Dental problems can start very early.  A big concern is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD), and this is totally preventable. This be caused by long periods of exposing baby teeth to liquids that contain sugar including formula, milk, breast milk, and juice.

A baby who has a habit of sleeping with a baby bottle filled with any sugary liquid is at risk of getting BBTD. Frequent snacking on sweet or sticky foods can also cause decay. It’s best to stick to a routine for meals and snacks and brushing, and not to feed to sleep.

The earlier your first dental visit to your dentist, the better chance of preventing dental problems, and your child will get used to going to the dentist, and collecting their sticker!  Children with healthy teeth can chew food well, speak clearly and share precious smiles.  Start your child on a lifetime of good dental habits now!

How can I prevent tooth decay?
Taking your baby off of the breast or bottle when they fall asleep can prevent baby tooth decay.  You should hold your baby while bottle feeding.  Always take a bottle filled with milk or juice away from the sleeping child. If your child requires a bottle at bedtime provide a bottle filled with water. Instead of a bottle, try comforting your child with a pacifier or a favorite toy or blanket.

What about fluoride?
Check with your health care provider to make ensure your child is getting the right amount of fluoride.  Brush your baby’s teeth with a soft toothbrush twice per day.

Do I need to do anything about thumb or finger sucking?
Thumb sucking is very common for infants and most actually stop by the age of two. Continued (beyond age 5 or 6 years) thumb sucking can cause crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. Your dentist can suggest ways to address a prolonged thumb-sucking habit.