There’s the thinking that because baby teeth eventually fall out, there’s not much reason to look after them. Not so, say experts—how you treat those first little pearlies actually determines the health of adult teeth.

Primary teeth—or ‘milk teeth’—are important for eating, as well as speech development. What’s more, they serve as place markers for permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too early, due to gum disease or cavities, the space closes as surrounding teeth drift into this position—resulting in potential orthodontic overcrowding problems later on. Here’s how to care for those teeth the right way, the first time around:

Clean the gums

No teeth yet? No problem. You should still keep oral bacteria at bay by gently wiping gums with a clean, damp cloth each day.

Brush twice daily

As soon as the first pearly white pops through, institute the twice daily brushing routine. Not only will it keep toothy sparkling, but it will establish a healthy habit for your tot to become accustomed to sooner rather than later.

Schedule a checkup

As above, it’s important to introduce oral hygiene routines to your little one from the earliest moment. After their first birthday, tots should visit the dentist. Here, potential dental concerns can be picked up, as well developmental issues like tongue tie. What’s more, your child can see the process as normal, and not necessarily related to crisis management.

Use low-fluoride toothpaste

18 months is a good time introduce toothpaste. Use the age range guidelines on the tubes to determine which fluoride toothpaste is suitable. Apply only a pea-sized amount of paste to the brush, and teach your tot to spit out at the end of brushing.

Take Care of Baby Teeth and Gums

by Cherise Huntingford


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