How to Care for Your Baby’s Dental Health
Your child needs good dental care. However, the same things that work for adult dental care are not necessarily good for babies. Below are some useful tips to help you care for your baby’s dental health.
Dental care should start as early as possible. Don’t wait until the teeth erupt to start dental care. Early dental care should be all about cleaning the mouth. Use a soft cloth dipped in water to wipe your baby’s mouth after each feeding session. That way, you discourage bacteria accumulation in the mouth. Oral bacteria can attack your baby’s teeth as soon as they erupt and cause poor oral hygiene.
You should be gentler with your baby’s oral care routine than you are with your own brushing and flossing. Do this so that:
- The baby can get comfortable and let you complete the cleaning
- The baby doesn’t associate oral care with unpleasantness (that can hinder future oral care sessions)
- You don’t bruise your baby’s oral tissues (remember, they are more sensitive than adult tissues)
Clean your baby’s mouth when you have time. Find a comfortable arrangement that works for you. For example, you can sit on a sofa and prop up the baby on your lap.
Beware of Transmission
You can pass the bacteria that cause dental decay from your mouth to your child. Take precautions to ensure that doesn’t happen. For example, you should:
- Clean your hands before cleaning the baby’s mouth
- Avoid sharing utensils, such as forks, with a baby
- Avoid using your toothbrush on your baby’s teeth, even if it’s soft enough
- Avoid putting your baby’s pacifier in your mouth
The idea is to ensure your saliva doesn’t get to the baby’s mouth.
Familiarize Yourself With Their Teeth
You should become familiar with your baby’s teeth as soon as they come up. You should know:
- How many teeth your baby has at every stage of development
- The arrangement of your baby’s teeth
- The shape and size of your baby’s teeth
- The color of your baby’s teeth
You learn these things by opening your baby’s mouth and lifting up their lips, especially when cleaning their mouth. That way, you will be able to spot changes to your baby’s teeth as soon as they occur. For example, you might spot emerging discolorations or cracks soon enough to take care of the issue. Most dental problems respond best to prompt dental treatments.
Be Careful With Toothpaste
You don’t need toothpaste to clean your baby’s mouth, especially before their teeth erupt. In fact, some dentists advise parents and caregivers to delay toothpaste introduction until age two. However, the American Dental Association advocates for fluoride toothpaste use as soon as the teeth erupt. Just ensure you use the right type and quantity of toothpaste.
The cautious approach makes sense because babies don’t know how to spit toothpaste out or understand why they should do so. Some toothpaste ingredients are not safe for ingestion. In addition, whitening agents in some toothpaste can damage babies’ teeth, which are still weak. You can minimize the risk further by using toothpaste specifically formulated for babies.
Seek Professional Dental Care
Lastly, do not just be content with DIY oral care for your child. Take the child for their first dental exam by their first birthday. The dentist will:
- Assess your baby’s dental development
- Teach you how to take care of your baby’s teeth
- Help the child acclimatize to dental office setups
- Provide preventive dental care
Whatever you do, ensure you don’t delay the dental examination past their second birthday. According to WebMD, regular dental visits (every six months) should begin after age two.
Kids Choice Dental has been providing dental care to kids for over a dozen years. We pride ourselves on treating our young patients like our family members. Contact us today to begin the journey of caring for your child’s dental health.