The debut of a baby’s first tooth is one of the milestones parents watch out for. Though this might make a mom’s breastfeeding journey more challenging (think nipple biting, ouch!) or longer days and nights due to extra fussiness, it’s always a joy to see babies and kids smile with their pearly whites. But these pearly whites do not come with an instruction manual, so I asked pediatric dentist Dra. Angeli Priscilla “Pritzi” Arce on what are some of moms’ most common questions.
When does a baby’s tooth usually come out?
A baby’s tooth usually comes out at 6 months old. This is the central incisor on the lower arch, but sometimes the upper comes out first. This can also come out at an earlier or later age.
When should we start brushing our baby’s teeth?
Brushing should start as soon as the tooth comes out. Use a rubber toothbrush for babies less than one-year-old, and a small soft bristle baby toothbrush for babies and toddlers more than a year old. You can also start using a fluoride toothpaste, but just a smear amount so the child doesn’t swallow it.
How often should children’s teeth be brushed?
Twice a day at least 30 minutes after eating.
Should parents brush their children’s teeth?
Yes, because little children don’t have the dexterity yet to clean their teeth thoroughly. Parents can brush until they are seven to nine years old, or at least supervise their brushing.
When can we start teaching them and how do we encourage them to brush their teeth?
Parents can teach the kid as early as 18-24 months old to familiarize them with brushing their teeth. You can encourage them by showing them how you brush your teeth, how you brush their teeth and then ask them to brush their own teeth.
How soon should we visit the dentist?
Ideal age is at one after the first birthday.
What should we expect during the first visit?
The dentist will check the teeth, do cleaning and apply fluoride. The parents will also be taught proper hygiene and the importance of baby teeth. The child’s eating habits and diet will also be discussed during the visit.
How do we prepare our child for the first visit?
Encouraging and practicing brushing at home would be good preparation. Parents can tell their child that the dentist is a friend who will just check, brush and put “vitamins” on their teeth.
Dr. Angeli “Pritzi” Arce holds her clinic at the Casipit Tan Dental Clinic, Grand Hamptons Tower, Bonifacio Global City.