As soon as you little one’s first tooth appears, start a brushing routine with water. Later, when she is old enough to spit it out, introduce toothpaste. The American Dental Association recommends that parents start a brushing routine when teeth first start to appear. When you use toothpaste, make it a small (pea-sized) amount of a non-fluoride brand. Toothpaste containing fluoride should not be used until your child is two years old, unless recommended by her dentist. Fluoride mouth rinses should not be given to children under the age of six. Flossing? Start flossing as soon as two teeth start to touch each other.
So when should you actually take her to the dentist? The ADA recommends that your baby be seen for her first dental visit within six months of the eruption of her first tooth and no later than her first birthday. Sound early to you? Well, the dentist will check the shape of your baby’s mouth, her teeth and gums, but also look for signs of damage caused by thumb sucking, decide if your tot might need fluoride supplementation earlier than age two, and then he’ll set a schedule for regular dental care and visits. Starting healthy habits early will help protect her teeth for a lifetime.