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How To Care For Your Baby's Teeth

Keeping our littlest ones healthy and happy is always a top priority. And with that in mind, we have been in touch with Dr. Rafif Tayara, a pediatric dentist at Dr. Michael’s Children's Dental Center, to give us some top tips on how to care for your baby's teeth.

When should I start brushing my child's teeth?

As soon as you see the first tooth out in your baby’s mouth, you should start brushing with a fluoride toothpaste.

For children under 3 years old, use a smear-layer of toothpaste (size of grain of rice).

For children above 3 years old, use a pea-size amount of toothpaste on the brush.

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?

Get it done by age one sums it up: when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months, that’s the proper time to take your baby to his/her pediatric dentist. This visit is very important as it will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.

Dental problems can start very early. More than 6 out 10 kids in the UAE between 2 and 6 years of age have Early Childhood Cavities. Cavities in young children can cause bacterial infections, chronic pain, loss of weight, and missed school hours, as well as low self-esteem. 

So the earlier the visit, the better the chance to prevent problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily and smile with confidence.

When should bottle-feeding be stopped?

Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age. The transition should happen to a glass or sippy cup.

Children should not fall asleep with a bottle of containing anything other than water. Breastfeeding on demand, especially at night, should be avoided after teeth erupt. 

Sipping juice from a baby bottle should be strictly avoided. 

Why, you ask? Those habits increase the risk of having Early Childhood Caries.

Should I worry about thumb-sucking and pacifiers?

Sucking is perfectly normal for infants: many stop by the age of two. Prolonged sucking on a thumb or a pacifier can create crooked teeth and bite problems, and abnormal development of the face muscles and tongue. 

If the habit continues beyond age 3, you may need to start looking for a solution. Pediatric dentists can offer many options; that’s why regular check-ups every 6 months help.

What are the signs of my baby teething?

There are many signs that may indicate that your baby has started teething including your baby crying at night for no reason, loss of appetite, excessive drooling, on and off low-grade fever, crankiness, and waking up at night randomly.

If your baby puts toys and objects in their mouth, or chew on random things fiercely, those are also signs of teething. 

If your baby is going through at tough time teething, here are some things you can give her/him to help soothe the pain:

- Chilled or frozen food pouch

- Teether (included in a toothbrush or separate)

- Teething gels

- Rattle necklace 

- Food spoons to chew on

- In extreme cases, you can give your baby pain-relievers like Panadol (the one suitable for babies and infants)

It can be awful to watch your little ones suffer, however, teething is a temporary stage and usually babies finish teething between 2 and 3 years of age.

If you have any questions, you can follow Dr. Rafif Tayara on Instagram here