(KUTV) Good oral health starts by creating a routine with your child – before they even have teeth. This includes not putting baby to bed with a bottle, and remembering to wipe their gums with a clean washcloth during bath time.
“Start brushing teeth once that first tooth pops through,” says Dr. Carly Sorenson, Pediatrician at Central Orem Pediatrics.
This should be done using a small toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste. If your child is under the age of three, use a grain of rice sized glob of toothpaste; over the age of three, toothpaste should be pea sized.
“The brushing is important twice a day not only because it will help remove the sugar or bacteria off the teeth, but the fluoride in the toothpaste will actually help protect the tooth itself,” says Dr. Sorenson.
The enamel of baby teeth is much thinner than adult teeth which is why fluoride is so important for young kids. Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen the enamel, and that’s why it helps prevent cavities.
In addition to toothpaste, there are several other ways to ensure your child gets fluoride as is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“In certain areas, and you should check with your city, there is already fluoride in the water supply,” says Dr. Sorenson.
If your city does not have fluoride in the water, check with your pediatrician about a fluoride supplement.
“We have a vitamin that’s fluoride-based as well so he gets that on a regular basis for his teeth,” says Kiffin Day, mother to baby Keldan.
Another way to protect baby’s teeth is to introduce a sippy cup at six months and get rid of the bottle by one year.
Finally, be sure to schedule baby’s first visit with a dentist around their first birthday.
“Our pediatrician give us the dental advice of what to do and then once he’s one we’ll start going to a dentist,” says Kiffin.