Oral Care For Babies
A lifetime of good dental care begins when children are small. Caring for your baby’s teeth can teach them good habits for the future. Learn how to care for their teeth as they age.
Around about six months of age, a child will begin showing signs of tooth eruption. You might notice that they are more fussy than usual and may have a fever. They are teething. It can be a tense time for parent and baby.
Once the tooth is fully showing, it is time to take care of it. For an infant, using a wet washcloth to clean the tooth is all you need. In the morning and before they go to bed at night, clean any food debris from their tooth.
This process can continue until they are about one year of age. Then, you can make the first visit to your dentist to examine their teeth and see what other follow-up care they need. At this time, your dentist can diagnose if they are developing gum issues or problems with their new teeth.
Things to Avoid
One of the biggest issues for babies is sleeping with a bottle in their mouths. Sugar from the milk or formula settles in the mouth and on the teeth. This along with bacteria can damage the teeth and lead to decay. Once the child is asleep, remove the bottle and wipe their mouth.
While parents often choose whether to use a pacifier or not, most pediatricians agree that all babies should probably stop using one by one year of age. They will have teeth by this time and chewing a pacifier could cause a choking hazard if any part of it breaks off.
As far as dental care is concerned, some pacifiers (if used incorrectly) can cause teeth to jut outward. Worse than that is thumb sucking. Because of the position of the thumb, constant sucking does push the teeth forward.
It is important to keep pacifiers clean and avoid putting sticky sweet substances on them. Remnants of the sugar can remain and add to tooth decay.
After visiting the dentist, he or she may recommend you start brushing your child's teeth. You will need to be very gentle with tiny gums so as not to scratch them. Use a small, soft bristle brush. Using fluoride or non-fluoride toothpaste is up to the dentist.
Gently brush their teeth and wipe them clean. As they get older, teach them how to spit and not swallow the toothpaste. In time, they will be able to brush their teeth on their own with your supervision.
Infant Oral health is important even for babies. Take care of those little teeth as soon as they appear so your child can enjoy a lifetime of healthy gums and teeth.