With so many years of dealing with your own teeth, you’d think that caring for your baby’s tiny ones would be no big deal. Yet there’s still a lot of confusion about what to do when teeth start making an appearance around 6 months. This expert advice will answer your questions and dispel some common misconceptions.
MYTH: Baby teeth aren’t that important.
FACT: Yes, your baby’s primary teeth are temporary and will eventually fall out. However, they have many functions beyond looking adorable. “Baby teeth are essential for eating and getting proper nutrition, for the structure of the face, and for holding space for the adult teeth to come in properly,” says Homa Amini, D.D.S., chief of pediatric dentistry at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio. If a tooth is lost too early because of decay, the other teeth could shift so there’s not enough space for the adult tooth to grow in, she says dental instruments. Another reason those tiny teeth are critical: your baby’s speech development. She’ll need her teeth to be able to eventually produce sounds like l, th, and sh.
MYTH: Teething can make your baby sick.
FACT: Although you may have heard that teething causes diarrhea, fever, and a whole host of other problems, recent research shows that any symptoms are actually quite mild. Gum irritation, drooling, and irritability are the most common symptoms associated with teething, according to a recent study in Pediatrics; some babies may also experience a slight rise in temperature dental supplies. However, a true fever (100.4°F or higher) isn’t related to teething, says Jade Miller, D.D.S., president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). If your baby has significant signs of sickness, contact your pediatrician.
MYTH: You should brush your baby’s teeth once daily vacuum forming machine dental.
FACT: Twice a day is better. “It takes approximately 24 hours for the film of bacteria that causes cavities, commonly referred to as plaque, to build up enough strength to damage the tooth structure,” says Dr. Miller. “It’s unlikely any person—child or adult—will get all of the plaque removed on once-a-day brushing. Therefore, we recommend brushing twice a day, to improve the likelihood of more thorough plaque removal.” Before your baby has any teeth, clean her mouth and gums with a damp washcloth. Once her first tooth sprouts, switch to a small, soft-bristled toothbrush, and use a fluoridated toothpaste sparingly. “A small amount, the size of a grain of rice, is all you need,” Dr. Miller says. Use the same brushing technique you use: Put the toothbrush on your baby’s gum line and brush in small circles, making sure to get the front and back of every tooth. And don’t worry about dental floss yet: You can wait until she has two teeth that touch each other before you floss.