Caring for Your Baby’s Emerging Teeth

When you have a little one, you know that you will be caring for his/her every need for a very long time—from changing your baby’s diaper to feeding him to bathing him, and brushing his teeth. In the beginning, it can be easy to neglect these tiny teeth, thinking that there is nothing really harming them since your little one is eating very little solid food, if any, but it’s still incredibly important to brush your baby’s teeth and gums to rid them of any unwanted bacteria.

Find a small toothbrush with soft bristles or a fingertip toothbrush. I’ve read that it works just fine to use a fingertip toothbrush until your baby’s molars come in around his first birthday, which is what I plan to do. I’ve also opted to use fluoride free baby toothpaste, which can be found at a number of stores and online.

It works best to sit down and lay your little one across your lap. I’ve found that if I try to hold my little one up over the sink or sit her down, she tilts her chin down and I don’t have very good access to her mouth. When you lay your little one across your lap, it is easier to gain access to his tongue and the back of his gums.

It seems like common sense to be able to care for your baby’s teeth, but it’s easy to forget about areas such as the insides of his cheeks, the roof of his mouth, his gums, and his tongue. We tend to just focus on the tiny teeth in his mouth and call it quits—or at least that’s what I initially thought was brushing my baby’s teeth or tooth, for that matter.

Start by brushing your little one’s top gums. If they have front teeth or a front tooth, you can start by brushing in circular motions, going from the front of the tooth to the back. Continue brushing the front and back of the top gums using gentle, circular motions. Next brush the bottom teeth, going from the front of the teeth to the back, and brushing the front, back, and top of the gums.

Finally, brush over the roof of your baby’s mouth, the inside of his cheeks, and your baby’s tongue and your baby’s mouth will be fresh and clean. By doing this twice a day, you can prevent tooth decay and gum problems in your baby; and by starting young your baby will get used to getting his teeth cleaned. It will help build great oral hygiene habits later in life.

By Holly M.
BabyChatter Contributor