Check out the most important tips on how to take care of your baby’s oral hygiene and prevent early tooth decay!
My little one is a late-teether. And I was under the impression that till the time he doesn’t get all his teeth, there is ABSOLUTELY no RUSH! No point in getting into the habit of brushing. But, one day I read about bottle tooth decay! Not that he is much into bottled milk, however, it did send some sort of a warning signal to my brain. After all, it’s important to maintain oral hygiene. Healthy teeth can chew food faster and well, let’s face it- a good-looking smile is all we need to brighten our days. Besides, the way our babies’ first teeth erupt and emerge also help in determining their adult teeth position. All in all, it’s crucial to start infants off with good oral care to help protect their teeth for decades to come. So, I made a visit to my dentist to get some first-hand information on tooth care for infants and toddlers.
Here is what I learnt about tooth care for babies:
- Child’s baby teeth are still susceptible to cavities.
- Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. BTD affects the upper front teeth (mostly).
- It’s good to start early in order to get you kiddo into the habit of brushing their teeth on regular basis, without fussing over it. So, you can start cleaning your baby’s teeth twice a day as soon as you see his first little tooth bud emerging.
Top tips on how to care for your baby’s teeth:
- As a part of the oral hygiene, one must clean child’s mouth even before the first tooth appears. Wipe the gums off after each feeding with a warm, wet washcloth or a dampened piece of muslin cloth wrapped around your finger. Make sure to clean their tongue too to avoid mouth thrush.
- Cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from the primary caregiver to the infant through the saliva. The caregiver should avoid putting the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth.
- Pacifiers and feeding bottles should be sterilized properly. Avoid dipping them in honey or your baby’s favorite syrup.
- When your child’s teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and a smear of kid’s toothpaste until the age of 3 till the age of 6.
- Supervise brushing until the child is ready to spit out the toothpaste. Usually, around the age of 5-to-7, they get into the habit of not swallowing, but rather spitting it out.
- Avoid giving anything sweet (liquids such as fruit juices, cold drinks, sugar water), especially in the feeding bottle to your little one.
- Bedtime bottle feeding should be finished by infants at least half an hour before their bedtime.
- Encourage the use of sippy cup after 12-to-13 months of age.
- Most importantly- provide healthy and balanced diet with the maximum intake of water. Keeping baby properly hydrated ensure proper intake of Fluoride.
- Schedule your kid’s first dental appointment at the age of 3.
When do you start brushing your baby’s teeth?
There is no fixed time for when to start brushing their teeth. Typically, it should start the minute their first one erupts. Your baby’s first tooth will most likely be a bottom front one, appearing at the age of six months. However, it varies from baby to baby. A baby has 20 milk teeth by the age of two-and-a-half!
How do I brush my baby’s teeth?
Newborn and infant with no sign of teething: Wipe the gums off after each feeding with a warm, wet washcloth or a dampened piece of muslin cloth wrapped around your finger.
Infant with one tooth/ toddler: Use a baby toothbrush, pick one with soft bristles and a really small head for comfortable brushing. Baby/kids toothbrushes are easily available at the chemists. Remember to replace their toothbrush every 3 months (irrespective of the condition they are in). You must buy the right type of toothpaste for your little one. Always check the toothpaste packaging for fluoride levels:
- From age 6 months to 3 years: The Fluoride levels should be really low.
- From 3 to 4 years of age: The Fluoride levels can range between low to medium; Place an appointment and pay a visit to the dentist for your child’s dental examination.
- From 4th year onward: Ordinary family toothpaste.
Information source: Babycentre UK
Disclaimer: Please consult your children’s doctor if the tooth decay symptoms are aggressive. Also, do check with the pediatrician before getting started with the daily brushing regime.
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