Baby New Teeth Care
Give babies only breastmilk or formula until you introduce solids at around 6 months. Breastfed and formula-fed babies older than 6 months can also have small amounts of water. Avoid giving your baby sugary drinks. Once you introduce solids, also avoid giving your baby foods high in sugar.
baby new teeth care
Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV). (2010). Teeth: Oral health information for maternal and child health nurses. DHSV. Retrieved 20 June 2022 from __data/assets/pdf_file/0011/3989/teeth-oral-health-information-for-maternal-and-child-health-nurses-manual.pdf.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). (2014). FDA drug safety communication: FDA recommends not using lidocaine to treat teething pain and requires new boxed warning. FDA. Retrieved 20 June 2022 from -safety-and-availability/fda-drug-safety-communication-fda-recommends-not-using-lidocaine-treat-teething-pain-and-requires.
After weeks of watching your baby drool and fuss, you finally spot that first little tooth bud popping up through the gums. Over the next couple of years, your baby's gummy smile will gradually be replaced by two rows of baby teeth.
Baby teeth may be small, but they're important. They act as placeholders for adult teeth. Without a healthy set of baby teeth, your child will have trouble chewing, smiling, and speaking clearly. That's why caring for baby teeth and keeping them decay-free is so important. By starting early, your baby gets used to the daily routine.
When the first baby teeth start to pop up, you can graduate to a toothbrush. Your child's pediatrician may suggest waiting until four teeth in a row have come out; others recommend waiting until the child is 2 or 3 years old. Choose a toothbrush with a:
Fluoride is a natural mineral that protects and strengthens the teeth against the formation of cavities. Using it early in your child's life will provide extra protection for developing teeth. However, dentists recommend that you start fluoride toothpaste when your child can reliably spit out the toothpaste after brushing. Kids get lots of fluoride from drinking water and shouldn't swallow fluoride in the concentration it is in toothpaste.
Brush your child's teeth twice a day -- in the morning and just before bed. Spend 2 minutes brushing, concentrating a good portion of this time on the back molars. This is an area where cavities often first develop.
You should brush your baby's teeth until they are old enough to hold the brush. Floss once all the baby teeth have come in. Floss sticks or picks instead of regular string floss may be easier for both you and your child. Brush and floss just before bedtime. After that, don't give your child any food or drink, except water, until the next morning.
Continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance. That usually happens at around age 6. Up until this time, remember that the best way to teach children how to brush their teeth is to lead by example. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene.
Keep on the lookout for any signs of baby tooth decay -- brown or white spots or pits on the teeth. If you or your pediatrician notices any problems, take your child to a pediatric dentist for an exam.
Even if there isn't a problem, your child should go for their first dentist visit by age 1 or within 6 months after their first tooth comes in. Early preventive care saves you money in the long run. A CDC report shows that dental care costs are nearly 40% lower over a 5-year period for children who see a dentist by age 5. The dentist can give you advice about:
Children's teeth emerge at different times. Check out this chart to learn more. It can take 2 years before all of the infant teeth have made their way through your baby's gums. The process as each tooth emerges is called "teething." It can be a trying time for you and your baby.
Teething rings. Let your baby chew on a clean, cool teething ring or cold washcloth. Just avoid giving your child anything that is small enough to choke on. Also avoid a teething ring with liquid inside that could break open.
Pain relief. Topical pain relievers are rubbed on the gums. Those that contain benzocaine should not be used for teething. The FDA warns that such products can cause dangerous, potentially life-threatening side effects. Give your baby acetaminophen occasionally to relieve pain, but ask your pediatrician first. Never give your child aspirin. It has been linked with a rare but serious condition called Reye's syndrome in children.
Sweet drinks -- even milk -- can settle on the teeth. This can lead to baby tooth decay -- also known as baby bottle tooth decay. Also at risk are children whose pacifiers are often dipped in sugar or syrup. Giving an infant a sugary drink at nap time or nighttime is particularly harmful because the flow of saliva decreases during sleep. Bacteria feed on the sugar from sweet drinks and produce acid, which attacks baby's teeth.
If teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay, your child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth, and damaged adult teeth. They will also have higher chances that adult teeth will end up being crooked.
Even babies can get tooth decay. Putting a baby to sleep with a bottle can harm a baby's teeth. Sugars from juice, formula, or milk that stay on a baby's teeth for hours can eat away at the enamel (the layer of the tooth that protects against tooth decay). This can lead to "bottle mouth" or "baby bottle tooth decay." When this happens, the front teeth can get discolored, pocked, and pitted. Cavities might form and, in severe cases, the decayed teeth might need to be pulled.
Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay by hardening the enamel of teeth. The good news is that fluoride is often added to tap water. Give your baby a few ounces of water in a sippy or straw cup when you begin them on solid foods (about 6 months of age). Speak with your pediatrician to see if your tap water contains fluoride or whether your child needs fluoride supplements. Fluoride is not typically found in most bottled water. See FAQ: Fluoride and Children for more information.
Usually teething doesn't cause children too much discomfort, however, many parents can tell when their baby is teething. Babies may show signs of discomfort in the area where the tooth is coming in, the gums around the tooth may be swollen and tender, and the baby may drool a lot more than usual.
Parents can help ease teething pain by massaging their baby's gums with clean fingers, offering solid, not liquid-filled, teething rings or a clean frozen or wet washcloth. If you offer a teething biscuit, make sure to watch your baby while they are eating it. Chunks can break off easily and can lead to choking. Also, these biscuits are not very nutritious and most contain sugar and salt.
A baby's body temperature may slightly rise when teething; however, according to a 2016 study in Pediatrics, a true fever (temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) is not associated with teething and is actually a sign of an illness or infection that may require treatment. If your baby is clearly uncomfortable, talk with your pediatrician about giving a weight-appropriate dose of acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or if over 6 months, ibuprofen (e.g., Advil, Motrin). Make sure to ask your pediatrician for the right dose in milliliters (mL) based on your child's age and weight.
Stay away from teething tablets that contain the plant poison belladonna and gels with benzocaine. Belladonna and benzocaine are marketed to numb your child's pain, but the FDA has issued warnings against both due to potential side effects.
In addition, amber teething necklaces are not recommended. Necklaces placed around an infant's neck can pose a strangulation risk or be a potential choking hazard. There is also no research to support the necklace's effectiveness. See Teething Necklaces and Beads: A Caution for Parents for more information.
During regular well-child visits, your pediatrician will check your baby's teeth and gums to ensure they are healthy and talk to you about how to keep them that way. The AAP and the United States Preventive Services Task Force also recommend that children receive fluoride varnish once they have teeth.
If your child does not yet have a dentist, ask your pediatrician if they can apply fluoride varnish to your baby's teeth. Once your child has a dentist, the varnish can be applied in the dental office. The earlier your child receives fluoride varnish the better to help prevent tooth decay.
Both the AAP and the AAPD recommend that all children see a pediatric dentist and establish a "dental home" by age one. A pediatric dentist will make sure all teeth are developing normally and that there are no dental problems. They will also give you further advice on proper hygiene. If you don't have a pediatric dentist in your community, find a general dentist who is comfortable seeing young children.
No bottles in bed. Putting your child to sleep with a bottle allows the sugars found in formula and breast milk to linger on teeth, setting the stage for tooth decay. (In fact, many doctors and dentists refer to early cavities as baby bottle tooth decay).
Handle pacifiers, spoons and cups with care. Tooth decay-causing bacteria can easily move from mouth to mouth. So, for example, you should avoid putting a pacifier in your mouth and then giving it to your child, or tasting your baby's food before offering them a bite from the same spoon.