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38 Comments

When my children were babies , the question I used to always get asked is “How many teeth does your baby have?”

We long as mother’s for the first few teeth to appear, yet we watch in pain with what seems like suffering when they first appear.

The red face, sleepless nights, constant drooling, irritability and explosive nappies were just a few of the symptoms my babies experienced.

I am sure you can relate right?

Baby teeth help your child to learn to chew, and speak properly. The most important job for teeth is to maintain teeth space in your child’s gums for their adult teeth.

In saying this, the rate of childhood decay is rapidly increasing. Babies and Toddlers are just as much of a risk for dental decay, as an older child or adult, so caring for your baby’s teeth needs to begin at birth.

By starting good oral hygiene habits early, your child will be well equipped to have healthy teeth for life.

So what should we do to prepare our babies for healthy teeth and gums?

Here are a few guidelines which may help you on the path to great dental hygiene with your family.

Brushing:

  • Even before your baby’s teeth appear, you should gently wipe their gums with a moistened soft cloth once a day.
  • Once teeth start to appear, use a toothbrush specially designed for babies, with a small head and soft, rounded bristles to gently massage their teeth and gums.
  • Up to 18 months of age, babies teeth should only be brushed with water, once a day after the evening feed.
  • Once your toddler has become used to brushing and during their third year, start brushing twice a day, after breakfast and just before bed.

Tips to Avoid Dental Decay:

  • Use a Low Flouride toothpaste from 18 months up. Use sparingly and have child spit out excess
  • If your baby has teeth, its best to avoid settling them to sleep overnight with a breastfeed or bottle of milk, flavoured milk, cordial, soft drink or fruit juice. Bacteria feed on the sugar in these drinks and form plaque acids on teeth, which in turn eat into the tooth surface and cause decay.
  • If your baby needs to suck on something to settle for sleep offer a dummy.
  • If your baby has a breastfeed before bed, wipe down teeth with a moistened cloth before sleep

Do you have any tips to add to this list?

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • My boys always went to bed with a bottle. They have no issues with their teeth

    Reply

  • My kids went to bed with a bottle of milk, after they were too old for the breast. They have fine teeth, not many dental visits for fillings and pullings for them

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  • good article, i am facing the problem with my child. check up with dentist now and then and she is having difficult time.

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  • I think it is as much about getting yourself into a routine to brush their teeth, even their gums, than anything else. That way you can pass it on to them!

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  • Very important topic for us. Thanks.

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  • Wow!! Some great advice that I will be taking on board before my daughter goes to sleep from now on. I find though if she’s teething really bad after her last feed I give her a dummy but I also put a little bit of Bonjela on it so it rubs onto her teeth and gums while she’s sleeping and that also seems to settle really well.

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  • Thanks again for sharing this article; have shared with friends.

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  • Never knew all this, will pass this infor onto my daughter in law. Will also have to change the way my youngest ones have their teeth done.

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  • Some good advice, but please note children are different. My kids all have great teeth, except my son who got holes, they all brush the same, dentist said some kids simply carry more bacteria in their mouth.

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  • Avoiding juice during the day helps with this too. Not many people realise that juice has almost as much sugar as soft drink. Yes, it may be fructose which is natural. Sucrose is natural too. Fructose in fruit is packaged in fibre and other nutritious things. Fructose in juice is just sugar.

    Reply

  • Wow!!! Honestly & seriously how many mums after breast feeding their little angel & putting them to sleep wan to consider waking them & wiping their teeth with a damp cloth to possibly wake them up & then have them back on the breast to sleep!

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  • wow i dont think i new any of this. what about those rubber toothbrushes with have no bristles and are meant to massage gums???

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  • Interesting article. I’m awaiting arrival of my first baby and was only asking my dentist last week about when a child’s first routine dental check should be. I’ll definitely take these suggestions on board.

    Reply

  • I always had my little guy brushing his teeth from the moment he could hold things, letting him chew on it when he needed to do things his way, then brushing when I could. We do it every night as part of our bedtime routine and at 22 months I am about ready to start him on toothpaste.

    Reply

  • Great article, as I often see questions posted in the Answers section of the site relating to this issue. Thank you

    Reply

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