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    The Benefits of Healthy Baby Teeth Can Last a Lifetime

    When you’re a new parent, there is a lot to learn about children’s health and development, and oral health is no exception. Did you know that good oral health practices begin before the first baby tooth even emerges? Here are a few tips on how to baby your little one’s baby teeth and begin good oral health habits at a young age.

    Start Before Teething (0-6 months)

    Before 6 months, parents should routinely wipe the child’s mouth and gums with a clean damp cloth or gauze to keep their mouths free of bad bacteria.

    Your baby will let you know when it begins teething! They will be irritable during the day and nights as their teeth begin to erupt. To soothe the gum, gently rubbing their gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad can be soothing. Once the baby teeth begin emerging, parents should begin brushing a child’s teeth with a child-size toothbrush.

    Introducing the Dentist (6 months to 2 years)

    Dentists a first dental visit 6 months after the first tooth erupts (but no more than a year). There might not be much to examine, but baby teeth can have an impact on how a child’s permanent teeth come in. During these early visits, dentists are assessing your child’s bite, facial growth, and dental development. Among other things, dentists also look at how your child’s baby teeth are arranged. This helps kids speak clearly while providing room for their permanent replacements.

    Baby Those Primary Teeth (2 to 6 years)

    Good adult oral health begins with good primary habits. Around age 2, parents should begin brushing a child’s teeth twice a day. Regular 6-month dental visits should also begin at this age to begin the fight against tooth monsters - aka bad bacteria! Along with helping your child develop good dental practices, food and drink can play a role at this age - try to limit juice intake to 6 oz. per day.

    Bye-Bye Baby Teeth (6 to 12 years)

    As soon as your child’s teeth begin to touch, it’s time to floss! Around age 6, children will reach a big milestone of losing their baby teeth. They should continue brushing their teeth twice a day while being gentle around the area they lost their teeth. Not all baby teeth fall out at once and it typically takes until age 12 for all adult teeth to come in.

    If you start taking care of your child’s oral health early, they’ll be smiling about it for years!

    Find more resources on children’s oral health in our Oral Health Library.