Brushing baby teeth can be quite a challenge for new parents. Some infants and toddlers may refuse to let parents brush their teeth. What can parents do? Parents can experiment with various rewards for good behavior during brushing. The initial tooth brushing attempts need to last only 5 seconds or so – and some little reward should be provided immediately thereafter. The time spent brushing the teeth can be gradually increased later on. Using this “rewards technique,” parents can follow the first successful attempt at tooth brushing with letting their baby “play with a favorite toy” or “play a favorite game with mom or dad.”
Oral hygiene techniques may be modified depending on a child’s age. For small infants, the gums need to be cleaned once or twice a day with a piece of clean gauze. This will help to establish a healthy oral environment for the baby teeth. Infants should be introduced to the toothbrush when the teeth erupt.
A rice size or smear of toothpaste should be used up to the age of 3.
After the age of 3, and when your child can spit, a pea-sized drop of toothpaste can be applied to the toddler’s brush.
· Have two clean teething rings, which have been chilled, ready for baby chew on.
· Give children’s Tylenol elixer, as needed, to alleviate pain and inflammation.
– Consider using a vibrating teething ring if regular teething rings are not successful.
The eruption of baby teeth begins when other changes in an infant’s immune system, growth, and development are also occurring. The eruption of the primary teeth usually begins around 6 months of age. This is, coincidentally, when infants have lost most of their maternally-derived antibody protection. By the age of 6 months, the number of maternal antibodies has decreased to a very low level, predisposing an infant to a variety of infections.
This means that if your baby has a fever it may not be due to teething. You may need to take your baby to the pediatrician.
Drooling in infants reaches its maximum level just before tooth eruption. This is because in early infancy, the ability to swallow all of the saliva is not yet well-developed. Putting objects in the mouth, and biting them, also first occurs at the time of teething. This newly-acquired ability to “mouth” objects is simply part of the normal neurological development of a child.