How to Clean Baby Teeth: Tips for Parents and Children

How to Clean Baby Teeth - Woodinville, WA

Nov 21, 2017 — by Cristin Dowd, DDS
Tags: Family Dentistry Children S Dentistry General Dentistry

A young girl smilingFor most babies, the first teeth start to appear around 6 months of age. Sometimes it can take 15 to 18 months for the first teeth to emerge, so keep that in mind as your child is growing. As they come in, your child may experience discomfort, which is common as they are teething. A cold teething ring can help soothe your baby's pain during this early period of their life.

The problem arises for many parents, though: How do I keep these first teeth clean?

Questions like this are where a skilled pediatric dentist can help. The team at Signature Smiles here in Woodinville would like to offer some tips for patients who wonder about dental care for babies.

Keep Your Baby's Gums Clean

Even before the first baby teeth start to emerge, it's a good idea to keep your baby's gums clean from any excess milk, formula, or food. We recommend using a wet washcloth or a damp piece of gauze to help clean the gums, though rubber gum cleaners are also available. Wrap this gentle cleaning surface around your finger and delicately wipe your child's gums clean. No toothpaste is necessary.

Cleaning Your Baby's First Teeth

As soon as the first teeth start to come in, it's important to keep them clean to prevent early tooth decay. Continue to use a washcloth, gauze, or the pediatric gum and tooth cleaner as teeth break through the gums, using a little bit of toothpaste.

Once the teeth fully emerge, parents can use a baby toothbrush with soft bristles to keep the teeth clean. Again, just a little dab of toothpaste will do. Be sure to brush your baby's teeth at least twice a day.

Tips for Avoiding Early Tooth Decay

While brushing your child's baby teeth, there are other things you can do to help prevent tooth decay and cavities from occurring. At night if your child sleep with a bottle, be sure to put water in there rather than milk or formula. This can prevent cavities from drinking during the nighttime. This can be part of the process of weening your child off the bottle.

Additionally, be careful about feeding fruits and sugary snacks to your child, especially after their teeth have been cleaned for the night.

When Should My Child Have Their First Dental Visit?

It's usually a good idea to start dental visits for your child within the first six months that their first teeth emerge. That's a pretty logical time to begin regular dental care, allowing your child to have a dental record as soon as possible.

During these visits with a family dentist, you can ask questions and voice concerns. You'll receive insight from a pediatric care expert on what you can do at home to ensure great dental health for years and years to come.

Teaching Your Child to Clean Their Own Teeth

As your child gets older and his or her motor skills improve, they'll be able to start brushing their teeth on their own. This can take time, so be sure to work with them slowly when they're around age 4 or 5. Help them keep their teeth clean and let them know that swallowing toothpaste is not a good idea.

This can be one of those fun rites of passage from being a toddler to being a healthy young child. It could be fun to treat this as a game, perhaps reinforcing good oral hygiene and preventative dentistry habits for years to come.

Learn More About Family Dental Care

For more information about caring for your child's smile and improving their dental health early in life, be sure to contact experienced family dentists today. The entire team here at Signature Smiles will work with you to improve your entire family's dental health for years to come.

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