Start taking care of your baby’s oral health early to prevent any problems associated with it in the future. Most of us may be unaware of taking care of babies' oral health, but it's important to take good care of the infant's oral health. You should start it even before your baby begins teething. For parents who are new to caring for their baby's teeth and gums, it is a bit overwhelming as there are other parenting duties as well.
With proper infant oral health care, you can protect your baby's chances of getting cavities later. As per the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, more than 40% of kids between 2 years to 9 years suffer from tooth decay or teeth cavities.
So, if you want to protect your little one’s oral health, you need to put in a little effort. The earlier you start the better it is. Here are a few things you can start with for good infant oral health.
- Clean the gums: Even though you will not have to use a toothbrush or toothpaste until your baby's first tooth comes out, cleaning the gums after each feeding helps remove bacteria and sugar from your baby's mouth. You can wrap your finger with a clean and damp cloth and slowly rub their gum with it to clean your baby's gum.
- Keep an eye on what you put in your baby's mouth: Another vital part of infant oral health care is being careful of what you are putting in your baby's mouth. Bacteria in the mouth causes tooth decay and cavities and is thus considered an infection. You should not even put your fingers inside your baby's mouth without properly cleaning it as it can cause an infection in their mouth. Never share anything in your mouth, such as toothbrushes or utensils, with your baby. Do not forget to rinse the pacifiers and the bottle nipples with water before putting them in your baby's mouth. All these steps can help you in cutting down the spread of bacteria.
- Proper care of your baby's first teeth: Once your baby's first teeth erupt, it is time to use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small amount of toothbrush. Use a toothpaste free from fluoride and with a mild flavor so that it is completely safe even if your baby swallows it accidentally. You can use a baby toothbrush size that fits comfortably in their small mouth. Make it a habit to brush your baby's mouth twice a day from when their first tooth appears.
- Brush your baby's tooth with a toothbrush very gently, ensuring that you cover all sides and gums that surround it. Once multiple teeth start, you can initiate flossing to remove debris stuck between adjacent teeth. Even if baby teeth fall out in time, it's vital to take good care of them so that they will not fall off before time. Healthy baby teeth mark the space where your baby's permanent teeth will take their place while assisting your child in chewing properly and pronouncing words properly.
- Your baby's first dental visit: With your baby's first teeth coming in, it's time for your baby's first dental visit. It is recommended that all parents go for regular dental visits for their children for proper dental care. Get in touch with a pediatric dentist having special training in taking care of a baby's mouth.
During your baby's dental visit, you can ask about any concerns you might have. If you are confused about how to brush your baby's teeth or what to expect about your baby's teething, you can ask the dentist.
Some other vital tips for infant oral health care
- Never allow your babies to sleep with feeding bottles in their mouth: With feeding bottles in the mouth for a long period, your baby's mouth gets exposed to milk or other liquid for a long time. This leads to the development of plague in your baby teeth. It mainly affects the front tooth in the form of black or brown spots.
- Always keep your baby teeth and gum clean: Even before your baby's first teeth come, there are some infant oral health care steps to make sure their mouth and gums are healthy. You need to follow all those steps to achieve the best oral health for your baby.
- Take your baby to the dentist on time: Many parents do not visit their child's dentist until they reach 2 years. But it is much later than recommended. It is good to visit a dentist within 6 months of the first tooth's eruption. With timely dental visits, it's easy to catch developing dental issues early to prevent all damages that might be occurring to your child's teeth.
- Always feed your baby healthy food and drinks: Proper infant oral health care involves a proper diet. A healthy and balanced diet is one of the main components for achieving healthy teeth and gums. Baby start consuming solid food once they are six months in age. They can eat several kinds of food. Make the right choice of foods and snacks and it goes a long way toward maintaining proper dental health. Avoid any sticky and chewy foods that get stuck to your baby teeth and lead to plaque build-up.
Once you have your baby's oral health care strategy, it becomes a habit similar to taking care of your teeth. Remember, infant oral health care begins a lifetime of oral hygiene habits. Anytime you face any problem in your baby's oral health care, keep aside all dental facts and myths and visit the dentist. MyDentalPlan have a lot of pediatric dentists whom you can choose for your baby's oral health care.
About the Author:
Suprithi Choudhary, M.Pharm (Pharmacology) Medical Content writer
Suprithi is a Pharma Professional working as a medical content writer and previously worked as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Analyst
- C.M Academy
- Attended the Panjab University- Chandigarh, Pharma post-graduate in Pharmacology
Special thanks to Dr Deepak Kulkarni, a dental surgeon with over 23 years of experience who proofread this blog. He graduated from the H.K.E's Dental College, Gulbarga, and has certifications in ACHS International Accreditation Education Plan; Advanced Rotary Endodontic - Restorative Continuum; and Leadership, Team Building and Customer Service Leadership from the Oscar Murphy International.