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Oral Care for Your Baby

March 31, 2014 by HealthyFamilies BC

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Babies' teeth usually start coming in around six months of age. Baby teeth are very important and your baby needs your help taking care of them.


Babies and children need their teeth for eating and speaking well, to help adult teeth grow straight and strong and for smiling! Start oral care before baby teeth appear. Use a clean, soft cloth to wipe gums and mouth twice each day from birth.

Once the first tooth appears, brush morning and at night with a soft baby toothbrush and a grain of rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush where the teeth and gums meet, the top of teeth, the sides, and the tongue. If teeth touch each other, use floss. Make tooth brushing fun and a part of your child’s daily routine. Watch a video about brushing your baby's teeth.

When your child is three years of age, increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste to a small pea-sized amount. Brush for your child when he is very young, and brush with them when they are older.

Healthy food helps build strong teeth, avoid sugary drinks, high sugar or sticky foods, and offer water in a lidless cup between meals. Supervise your baby or toddler when they eat or drink and avoid giving any food, drink or bottles in bed. 

Learn more about in a video about Preventing Early Childhood Tooth Decay.

Bacteria in the mouth can cause tooth decay, avoid sharing spoons, or toothbrushes with your child and remember to replace your child's toothbrush when it looks worn, or after an illness. Check your child's teeth regularly. Visit your dental office if you see brown or white spots on your child’s teeth or if you have questions.

The Canadian Dental Association and the British Columbia Dental Association recommend taking your child for their first dental visit by age one or six months after their first tooth appears. Start dental care early to prevent problems. Get tips on how to brush your child’s teeth, ideas on choosing healthy food and drinks and how to check for early signs of tooth decay.

Ask your dentist if they provide dental care for young children. If they don’t see young children, they can refer you to a dentist who does. Or you can call the British Columbia Dental Association at 604-736-7202 or find a BC dentist online.

When visiting your dentist, make sure to schedule the appointment for when your baby is well-rested. You can even bring one of their favourite toys or blanket to your child’s first dental visit.

You may want to ask the dental office how much the appointment will cost. If paying for dental care might be a challenge for your family, check to see if you have "Healthy Kids" benefits by calling 1-866-866-0800 or check online. The dental office will use your child’s BC Care Card number to see if your child is covered by this program so remember to take your child’s care card to the appointment.

Read more in HealthyFamiliesBC about Dental Care and Teething for Toddlers.


Resources:

BC Dental Association: Dental Health for Children
BC Dental Association: Dental Health Resources
BC Healthy Kids program: Coverage for dental care
HealthLink BC: Dental Care from birth to six months
Your Dental Health: Baby Teeth

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Topic

  1. Activity & Lifestyles
  2. Aging Well
  3. Pregnancy & Parenting
    1. Pregnancy & Birth
    2. Babies (0-12 months)
    3. Toddlers (12-36 months)
    4. Preschool (3-5 years)
    5. Children (6-11 years)
    6. Teens (12-18 years)
  4. Food & Nutrition

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