How to Care For Your Baby's Teeth

How to Care For Your Baby's Teeth
Dr. Elizabeth Jean Herko Dentist New Providence, NJ

Dr. Elizabeth Jean Herko M.P.H., D.D.S. is a top Dentist in New Providence, NJ. With a passion for the field and an unwavering commitment to their specialty, Dr. Elizabeth Jean Herko M.P.H., D.D.S. is an expert in changing the lives of their patients for the better. Through their designated cause and expertise in the... more

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time? 

Some resources recommend taking a child to the dentist as early as one year old. A one-year-old child is not going to have their teeth cleaned. A visit this early is to establish a dental home (in case of emergency) and to teach guardians how to care for their child's teeth. Below are some general guidelines for children's teeth (0-3 yrs old):

  1. Wipe your baby’s teeth and gums often with a damp cloth. Once their molars (back teeth) erupt, brush teeth with a small amount of xylitol toothpaste without fluoride. Removing plaque (food debris) off teeth is the number one way to prevent cavities. One good brushing a day is better than two or more poor brushings. Most infants do not like to have their teeth brushed—you will have more control if you lay your infant down to brush their teeth.
  2. Do not let your infant fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth or in their crib.  You want brushing to be the last thing in their mouth before they fall asleep. Water is the only acceptable drink after nighttime brushing.
  3. Eliminate bottles at one year of age.
  4. Minimize/eliminate saliva sharing with infants.

For most children, the ideal first dental visit for a cleaning is between ages 2 and 3. It is important that the first visit is a good one. Take your child to the dentist when they are well-rested. If you have fears about the dentist, do not share any of them with your child. Never say the words "pain" and "hurt" or anything like that related to the dental visit (before, during, or after). They are not expecting any of those things, so there is no need to bring them up. The first dental visit will be painless and somewhat enjoyable for them. So, act like it will be, especially if you feel differently about your own dental appointments.