We don’t have a pediatric dentist yet. Our first child is teething. I know that I am supposed to clean the first few teeth with a soft cloth, but kids grow quickly. I want to know what to do before time passes and I don’t know how to care for his teeth. As he grows and it’s time to start brushing his teeth, what kind of toothpaste should we use? – Lacey
Lacey -It is important to start caring for a child’s teeth right away. Pediatric dental appointments are important for proper growth and development of teeth.
Primary teeth are a placeholder for permanent teeth, so dental checkups ensure they are properly developing.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends gently cleaning teeth with fluoridated toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts. Applying fluoride to teeth helps prevent cavities.
It’s important to preserve your child’s primary teeth because they serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. They reserve space for permanent teeth and help guide them in the correct position.
Before Age 3
Clean your child’s teeth twice daily with a cloth or soft-bristled toothbrush for infants. Only use a smear of toothpaste (about the size of a single grain of rice) should be used. This small amount of toothpaste should be used up to age 3.
After Age 3
After age 3, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste should be used. Even when a child is able to brush on his or her own, you should assist to monitor the amount of toothpaste used. Too much fluoride can damage growing teeth.
What about Fluoride Rinses?
Fluoride rinses are not recommended under age 6. In any case, if you think that your child may not be getting enough fluoride, you should consult his or her dentist.
This post is sponsored by Chatham, NJ dentist Dr. Allyson Hurley. Although Dr. Hurley is not a pediatric dentist, she is a family dentist and has been treating children for many years.