Help Your Child’s Smile Last a Lifetime

When your baby is teething for the first (or the third!) time, you are probably focusing more on their discomfort and unhappiness than how to care for their shiny new tooth. They may not want you to touch it, or bite your finger when you do, but that’s okay as it will change with practice.

While you will not take your child to see a dentist until they are around one year old, you can start building healthy habits and helping them take care of their teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.

Here’s What You Need to Know:

  • Once your baby has their first tooth, make it a habit to gently wipe it and the ones that follow with a washcloth or a soft toothbrush each evening before bed.

  • Do not put your child to bed with a bottle of formula or juice, as both can cause tooth decay.

  • As soon as your baby has teeth, they can begin getting cavities.

  • Make an appointment to visit a pediatric dentist around your child’s first birthday.

  • Do you have questions about teething, thumb sucking, or using a pacifier? Have those ready for your dentist.

  • Begin talking with your child about their teeth and taking care of them. Once you are ready to visit a dentist, talk with them about what to expect.

  • Once they are one year old, you can gently brush your toddler’s teeth with a toothbrush and water or a small bit of non-fluoride toothpaste.

  • Talk with your dentist about when you should begin using fluoride toothpaste.

  • As your toddler gets older, make brushing their teeth more fun: let them help choose a toothbrush and toothpaste flavor.

  • Read books and watch videos on dental hygiene so that your children see it as an everyday practice that everyone does.

  • Use a timer or a favorite song to help your child brush for two minutes or more.

  • Your child will need help brushing their teeth until they are about seven or eight years old.

  • Swap out toothbrushes every three to six months, or when the bristles look worn.

  • Teach them that it is not how hard they brush, but how well they do it.

  • Add flossing into to their daily regimen once they are a bit older. Talk to your dentist about what age it should start.

  • If your water does not contain fluoride, ask your doctor if your child needs to take an oral fluoride supplement.