The How To for Baby’s Teeth is a sponsored resource commissioned by the ADA Foundation. All opinions are our own.
Remember that grand milestone when your baby got their first tooth? It might be followed closely by Baby’s First Steps. It’s a moment to celebrate because now maybe your baby won’t be so grumpy since the tooth finally broke through the gums and you can get a break from the teething baby grumpiness!
Yet at the same time, you might feel sad because it means your little one is growing up, maybe a little faster than you are prepared for.
While all parents immediately think about babyproofing their home right from the start, not many know that the proper way to care for baby’s teeth begins long before that first tooth even appears!
Why Baby Teeth Matter
Did you know that nearly one in four children under the age of 5 already has cavities? And several of them will also experience Baby Bottle Tooth Decay!
I first learned about Baby Bottle Tooth Decay about 10 years ago, because my second son HAD it! His front two teeth literally rotted away to almost nothing!
It caused problems with his speech and his eating because it hurt to chew, and he hated to smile because he was embarrassed by his teeth!
We were living in Germany at the time with the US military and our family didn’t have access to good dental services. When we finally were able to get access to a dentist, the solution ended up being a BIG medical procedure to clean his teeth out and add caps to prevent further decay. They had to use anesthesia to put him to sleep to get all this accomplished.
You can bet I learned FAST about Baby Bottle Tooth Decay and everything on the How To of baby teeth to ensure that didn’t happen again to any of my other kids!
The worst part is that all of this COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED, had I just known the How To of baby teeth—the proper cleaning, dental schedule, and healthy oral habits for baby teeth! Plus, not letting your baby take a bottle to bed when they go to sleep!
Thankfully now there are more resources for parents and caregivers to ensure that families know how to care for baby teeth!
The How To of Baby Teeth.
The American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) and Scholastic have worked together to create a free education program to help promote the importance of dental health in children ages 0 (birth) to 5 called Tiny Smiles.
Tiny Smiles covers all The How To of baby teeth—from proper care to why baby teeth are important to when you should take your baby to their first dental visit!
Did you know that you should begin to care for your baby’s teeth as early as one day old? Each milestone age has its own steps you can take to properly care for baby teeth.
Ages 0-6 months: Properly clean baby’s gums after every feeding. Gently wipe their gums with a clean, damp, soft washcloth or gauze after each feeding.
From 1st tooth to 3 years old: Brush their teeth twice a day (morning and night) You will want to use a baby toothbrush and a small dot of fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice.
3 years to 5 years: At this stage, you will want to help your child to brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day. You will still use fluoride toothpaste with a dot the size of a pea. You can begin to teach your child how to brush their teeth on their own. But you will want to continue to help/monitor until they can easily manage the brushing and spitting on their own.
Grab this handy Tiny Smiles PDF Chart that you can print and post on your wall for a reminder!
Now you might wonder, “Why do baby teeth even matter? Don’t they just fall out eventually anyway?”
Yes, while the teeth do eventually fall out, they perform a lot of uses before then.
- They help your baby learn to smile.
- Baby teeth help your baby to chew and eat solid foods
- They help with your baby’s speech development and pronunciation
- They also hold space for permanent teeth.
You can find a lot of helpful activities at scholastic.com/givekidsasmile! They also include a bilingual (Spanish and English) Healthy Dental Habits informational tip sheet for parents and caregivers. Plus there’s a poster with dental health information for parents/caregivers, day-care/early childhood centers, and dentist and doctor offices.
The Tiny Smiles program isn’t filled with a lot of boring pages to read. They have fun activity sheets for families to do together to learn about healthy dental habits. You will also find several PDF printables that you can use for easy reminders or to help teach your children.
If your child is nervous about their first dental experience, check out the Dentist Day Story. It helps explain what your child can expect at the dentist to help remove the fear.
Plus they also offer assistance to help you find a quality dentist in your area for your kids.
You don’t have to be confused over the How To of baby teeth! Now you have all the resources you need right at your fingertips to ensure your little one’s teeth stay strong and healthy!
Save yourself the trouble of expensive dental visits down the road! Start practicing good oral hygiene for baby’s teeth NOW.
Learn all the How To of baby Teeth NOW by visiting the Tiny Smiles website.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ADA Foundation. The opinions and text are all mine.