10 questions about babies' oral hygiene

baby teeth

Good oral hygiene is essential for babies, from birth onwards. Indeed, care is essential even if the teeth have not yet erupted, or if they are primary teeth. This helps prevent future cavities and infections in the mouth of young children. To shed some light on the subject, we answer 10 questions parents ask themselves. 

#1 When do baby's first teeth appear?

At birth, newborn babies already have 20 teeth hidden beneath their gums. Some babies are born with one or two teeth. However, on average, they start to erupt between 6 months and 1 year. Teething is most often accompanied by irritability, loss of appetite and/or sleep. Usually, by the age of 3, all the teeth have come through. 

#2 What to do before the first teeth appear?

For the first few months, we recommend gently cleaning your baby's gums. Use a clean, damp cloth or compress. This operation should be repeated morning and evening, or ideally, after each feed.  

#3 When should you start brushing your child's teeth? 

You may be surprised to learn that cavities can form as soon as the first baby tooth emerges. So, when you notice it, it's time to brush. Buy a toothbrush and toothpaste suitable for babies. Find out more in our article on brushing children's teeth.

#4 How do I brush a baby's teeth?

If your child can't sit up yet, it's easiest to lay him on his back. Brush his teeth vertically, from gum to tip. When the child can stand on his own, you can stand together in front of a mirror to start teaching him the gestures in a playful way. 

#5 Can fluorine-based products be given to children?

Fluorine is a mineral naturally present in water. One of its properties is its protective effect on tooth enamel. It makes it more resistant to bacterial attack, thus reducing the risk of developing tooth decay. Children's toothpastes contain an age-appropriate dose. We invite you to discuss this with your pediatrician or dentist in Fribourg, for example.

#6 How much toothpaste should a baby use? 

Quantities are obviously much smaller than for an adult. To give you an idea, count the equivalent of a grain of rice for a baby under 3. From 3 to 6 years of age, count the equivalent of a pea. We recommend that you brush your child's teeth yourself until he or she is able to do so on their own. 

#7 Should interdental spaces also be cleaned?

Yes, this operation should be carried out as soon as you notice that two teeth are touching. You can clean these spaces before or after brushing your teeth, using baby-friendly accessories. Don't hesitate to ask your dental hygienist in Lausanne or elsewhere in Switzerland. 

#8 When is my child's first dental appointment?

Baby care professionals recommend that parents take their child to the dentist no later than one year of age. The best time to visit is just after the first baby tooth appears. As we explained earlier, the first tooth brings with it the risk of tooth decay. Thereafter, have a check-up at least once a year.

#9 How can we prevent cavities in toddlers?

In infants, tooth decay is known as "baby bottle tooth decay". It most often affects the upper incisors, but this is not an absolute rule. The main cause? Repeated, prolonged exposure of baby's teeth to milk or other liquids containing sugar. So avoid letting your child fall asleep on his or her bottle.

#10 How to prevent the spread of bacteria in a child's mouth?

The bacteria responsible for tooth decay can be transmitted through saliva. Certain reflexes in the baby's immediate environment can be harmful. For example, putting a pacifier or bottle in your mouth before giving it to your baby. The same applies to the spoon used at mealtimes. To promote good oral hygiene in babies, try to respect the private use of all accessories and utensils dedicated to them. 

Baby's dental care is just as important as good hygiene. oral care during pregnancy. All these factors have a direct impact on a young child's health. HELVIDENT welcomes you to its dental center in Fribourg, Aigle or Lausanne. Don't hesitate to contact us for a consultation with a dentist, a dental hygienist or a specialist in orthodontics, periodontics or dental surgery.