Remember that first giggly smile of your baby? That winning gappy smile is enough to melt the coldest of heart. Little by little your baby’s gorgeous gummy smile gets replaced with a couple of pearly whites. And this is where the need for oral care arises.
When your baby's teeth are on their way in, you should start taking care of them. A good oral hygiene practice must be followed from the time when your baby gets the first tooth.
Although this set of choppers will be there only for a short time, proper care of the teeth is essential to keep your baby's gums and those future permanent teeth healthy. If you have no idea how to take proper care of your baby’s teeth, here are some effective tips to help you out.
Start Caring Before Baby's Teeth Come In
It is essential to care and clean your kid’s mouth even before the teeth comes in. Even though the primary teeth of your baby are temporary tools for chomping, it's no less important to take proper care of them to ensure their good dental health.
These initial teeth will be replaced by their permanent pearls but establishing the habits with good nutrition can make the permanent ones healthy and strong.
Wipe the Gums Off After Each Feeding
Make sure to wipe off your baby’s gums after feeding to prevent bacterial growth in the mouth. Use a warm, wet washcloth or dampened gauze wrapped around your finger to clean the gum.
Doing this long before the appearance of the first teeth will promote good oral health. You can even opt for thimble-like, soft rubbery devices to wipe off excess food.
Start Brushing With Toothpaste at Age 2
It is very exciting to see the baby's first tooth poking through the gums. But it also brings responsibility to parents to take care of the teeth. This is where you need to start brushing your bay’s teeth.
Gently wipe clean the first teeth with a clean, damp washcloth, a gauze pad and clean the front of the tongue with a finger brush after meals and at bedtime.
Once the teeth are grown in, use very soft bristled toothbrush with no more than three rows of bristles and a little fluoride toothpaste to clean the teeth. Also, make sure to toss the toothbrush that is more than two to four months old, as it can give a chance to nasty mouth bacteria to build up in the mouth.
Watch Out for Signs of Cavities
Discoloration and minor pitting are some of the earliest signs of cavities in a baby’s teeth. If you notice any brownish or white stains or depressions in your baby’s teeth, you should see a dentist.
Don’t forget to take your baby for his/her first dentist appointment before they reach the age of 1. A thorough examination of the child's mouth is important to ensure that there are no developing issues.
Be Mindful Of Diet
The right building block is essential for your baby to have pearly whites. So make sure your baby is having an adequate amount of calcium, phosphorus, fluoride, and other minerals and vitamins that are crucial for healthy gums.
Babies start having solid food around 6 months of age so they should get enough vitamins and minerals to keep their teeth healthy and strong.
Take Away the Pacifier
Pacifier is one of the comforting staples for baby. Whether you need to stop the baby from screaming in public places or put your overtired baby into sleep, pacifiers can be a lifesaver. But do you know the comforting pacifier can be harmful to their developing mouths when used for too long?
Using pacifier for a long time can cause teeth misalignment and lead to larger dental problems later in life. Just like the pacifier, the thumb sucking can also affect alignment and the development of the teeth of your baby. So, it is better to replace the pacifier with a sippy cup when it’s no longer nutritionally required to use a bottle.
Regulate the Fluoride Intake
While a little amount of fluoride is good for your baby's dental health, too much of it can cause fluorosis. Hence, it's important to use only a little amount of fluoride toothpaste until your kid is old enough to spit it out.
When your baby is 6 months old, make sure he/she gets a certain amount of fluoride from water used to make formula or the drinking water.
Limit the Intake of Sugary Food
Although sugary foods are usually the favorite of kids, it can be a tooth’s worst enemy. When the sweet substance clings to their teeth, it can result in cavity and tooth decay. So, for their good dental health, it is better to cut down on how often your baby eats sugary foods and drink.
If you are buying baby foods, look for the ones without sugar. Also, limit the juice intake of your child to no more than 4 ounces a day or opt for non-sugary drinks.
Avoid Bottle at Bedtime
Don't put your baby down for a nap with a bottle of juice or milk. Such sugary liquids feed the bacteria in the mouth by clinging to the teeth.
When the sweeteners in juices or milk stick to teeth for too long, it causes tooth decay. So, if you are allowing your child to take a bottle to bed, make sure it contains only water.
Even if your baby doesn’t have any teeth yet, proper oral care is a must to prevent cavities later on. Cleaning the gums after feeding can be a critical start and make sure to take the best care of their first tooth.
By taking good care of the first set of pearly whites, you will establish good dental habits for your baby for years to come. Establishing perfect oral hygiene from the beginning will help your kid enjoy the benefits even after the milk teeth are gone.
If your baby has teething troubles, find a local dentist to schedule a dental evaluation. Follow the above tips to safeguard your baby’s teeth and dental future.