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|Your baby doesn't even have teeth yet, so is a good oral hygiene routine really necessary? The short answer is: yes. By taking good care of your baby's gums and first teeth, you help set the foundation for a healthy mouth in the future. It's never too early to practice good oral hygiene, and this article offers valuable tips and advice on how to set the stage for a lifetime of beautiful and strong smiles.|
You may think that since your baby has no teeth and eats only soft foods, your dental care obligations have not yet begun. However, according to pediatric dentists and the American Dental Association (ADA), it is never too early to establish healthy oral hygiene habits.
Though your child may not have any teeth to clean yet, the health of his or her gums is essential to proper tooth growth and can also affect future biting, chewing, and even speaking abilities. While no brushing is yet required, it is recommended that you gently clean your baby's gums with a warm, moist cloth to remove any food and inhibit the growth of bacteria. You should begin gently brushing with a pediatric toothbrush at the appearance of the first tooth, and your child's first visit to the dentist's office should occur at roughly the age of three.
The ADA states that the sucking habits of infants (think pacifiers, thumbs, and bottles) are a natural part of development and may be continued without risk to a certain age. However, as your child begins to develop teeth, it is important to discourage such habits as they can have a negative effect on the development and placement of teeth.
By taking good care of your baby's gums and first little teeth, you can help pave the way for a lifetime of healthy and beautiful smiles.
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