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Dental Hygiene for Infants | Keeping Their Smile Bright

One of the most common questions that I get is, "When should I expect the first

baby tooth?" The reality is it's a range. Some children are actually born

with baby teeth and there are some kids who don't get their first tooth

until they're 18 months old. All of those things are okay, but the thing I want to

impart on everyone is that it's important to see a pediatric dentist or

a general dentist by the age of 1 or the first tooth. The reason we want to do

that is we want to make the dentist a fun experience. Unfortunately, a lot of

the community feels that we're rather scary people. What we want to do is

desensitize your child to being able to have a toothbrush in their mouth and to

realize that it's okay to open your mouth. A lot of parents I find, just give

the toothbrush to their child, which they like, but it's important for them to be

accustomed to someone else brushing their teeth, so start brushing their

teeth with that first tooth. Now when it comes to toothpaste you want to make

sure that it actually does have fluoride in it. The key is to not use very much. If

you look online, you can just use something called a smear of toothpaste

until you are confident they're going to spit that toothpaste out. When you are

trying to brush your child's teeth, one way that I do it with my own 11 month

old is I actually just hold him and then I brush the teeth. Then he

usually grabs my hand starts brushing on its own. The best thing to do though is

to brush the top and the bottom completely separate. When I talk to

older kids when they're brushing their teeth as well, I have them brush each

tooth as an individual thing so you spend five seconds on each individual

tooth. One child, actually yesterday, told me you're scratching my gums. You

actually want to scratch those baby's gums because it toughens them up to

prevent gingivitis. The takeaway message is you want to make sure that your child

sees a dentist by their first tooth or age 1. You want to get in that mouth

as soon as possible, so right when you start seeing that little tooth come in

get that toothbrush in there.