Children’s teeth usually start to come out as early as 6 months. Primary dentition or the process of eruption of the first set of deciduous or temporary set of teeth starts at 6 months and is usually complete when children reach the age of six.
Experts recommend that caring for your baby’s first tooth should start even before the first tooth comes out. Even if you can’t see the teeth, the truth is they have already started to form during the second trimester of pregnancy. The teeth at the jaw are the first to develop.
How to care for your baby’s teeth
During infancy when your baby’s teeth are not yet visible, dental experts recommend running a clean, damp cloth over the gums after feeding to clear away the bad bacteria that may cause gum infection. There is no need to use a toothpaste during this stage.
Once your child’s first set of teeth start to erupt, which generally happens at 6 months, you can start brushing them using an infant toothbrush. Use a toothbrush that has a small head and is easy to grip. Use a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste. It should only be the size of a grain of rice. Since only a tiny amount is used, there is no need to rinse off the toothpaste with water.
Experts recommend using a fluoride toothpaste that has the seal of acceptance of the American Dental Association (ADA) to ensure that the product has been approved by experts and widely used by dentists for children. When your child gets older, around age 2, you can already teach him to spit while brushing. Always supervise your child while brushing to avoid unnecessary swallowing of toothpaste and to guide him in doing the proper technique. If your child doesn’t like to manually brush his/her teeth, an electric toothbrush is recommended. Choose a reputable brand like this one to ensure hygiene and safety.
Children’s growing teeth need fluoride, which is a very important mineral to strengthen the teeth and prevent tooth decay. Children can get this from toothpaste, water and fluoride supplements when necessary.
The American Dental Association also recommends that children should be seen by a dentist by their first birthday. During this visit, the dentist will teach the proper technique of tooth brushing and flossing. He will also check if the child needs to have supplementary fluoride to prevent future cavities if he is at risk for that or other future oral problems. Your dentist will also check for other problems in bite and jaw deformities that might warrant a referral to an orthodontist or a jaw surgeon.