Teeth First! Teeth First!

The 1st Smilestone - Gummy Smiles

A healthy smile is a lifelong journey! As children grow and develop healthy smiles, we get to see – and celebrate! – these moments, called Smilestones. Beginning with healthy habits at home, to your child's changing smile and healthy dental care, Smilestones help highlight specific moments that you should be aware of as your child's teeth grow in. Think of it as a checklist to remind you of all of the healthy habits that guide your little ones on the road to bright, grown-up smiles.

We're giving each one of these Smilestones a chance to shine in the spotlight and delivering useful tips on how to manage each new step in a caring and healthy way. Keep track of each and every one of these moments, learn about how they help, and have fun while you do it!

"Gummy Smiles"

It all starts here—the very first Smilestone!

Long before your little one has any teeth, they have their gummy smile. Most babies begin teething around the age of 6 months. While gummy smiles don’t last long, they can make for some of the best moments as they first learn to smile.

When your baby has a gummy smile is the perfect time to start caring for your baby's gums like you'll care for their teeth. Keeping gums healthy is very simple.

Here are some tips that will help set your child up for a lifetime of healthy smiles, right from the beginning:

Clean Gums are Happy Gums Even though your baby doesn't have their first teeth yet, keeping their mouth and gums clean is still very important. Bacteria can thrive after nursing, bottle feedings, and solid food meals and linger around the gum line. This can lead early gum disease and tooth decay later in life. Use a baby washcloth or a piece of gauze dipped in clean water to gently rub their gums after every meal.

Sweet Without Sugar Speaking of mealtime and clean gums—if there is one thing that pesky bacteria love, it's sugar. Flavored milks, fruit juices, and sodas are full of added sugar. Sugar allows bacteria to grow. Protect those gummy smiles by cutting out these sweet drinks. This also goes for sugary solid foods, when your baby is ready for those. Reach for gum-friendly healthy alternatives instead!

The Perfect Dentist In the gummy smiles stage, it may seem a bit early to start thinking about a pediatric dentist—but it's never too early! The process of finding a dentist for your child may take some time. Starting before your baby is teething will give you a chance to search and find the best possible care without rushing! Visit TeethFirst! for more information about finding a dentist and what to expect at a first dental visit

Smile Early, Smile Always And of course—smiling and laughing are healthy themselves! This is the best are the first step in a lifetime of smiles and giggles, with teeth or without them! Try using funny face and voices, tickling, and silly noises to get your baby smiling big. Once you start them smiling, they may never stop!

Smilestones Photo Tip: Try talking or singing to your baby, close enough that they can see your smile and mimic it! Have someone else hold the camera while your baby smiles and babbles so you can snap a pic at just the right time. Submit today at www.teethfirstri.org/smilestones!

TeethFirst! Creating healthy smiles for a lifetime.