Tooth and Mouth Care
Once your baby's teeth start coming out, you will need to take care of them until your baby is old enough to do so by himself. Here are some of the ways to ensure your baby's teeth and gums remain healthy:
Wipe baby’s gums and teeth: Most doctors recommend Cleaning Baby's mouth even before his first tooth appears. You can wipe his gums with a small piece of cloth. When baby’s teeth come out, put a drop of toothpaste on a cloth and clean the teeth and gums of the plaque and bacteria that gets accumulated and can cause tooth decay.
Floss: Use dental floss as it will help clear the plaque and food particles in between baby’s teeth. You can train your baby and help him inculcate flossing as a healthy habit as he grows. Take a piece of dental floss and hold it tightly between the thumb and index finger on both hands. Ease the floss between two touching teeth, gently sliding it back and forth. Be careful not to do it harshly. Sometimes, the gums may bleed a little, but there's no need to worry. You can dab the small cut with a cold washcloth.
Brushing: It will be time for you to start using a toothbrush with soft bristles for your baby when he has more than a few teeth visible. Make it a habit of brushing his teeth once every morning and night before bedtime. You can place him on your lap with his back against you and gently brush his teeth and gums. Remember to replace the toothbrush every six to eight weeks for better hygiene. Once baby completes a year, you can slowly teach him how to brush while brushing your own teeth.
Avoid Using Fluoride Toothpaste for Babies: Fluoride is an important mineral that renders strength to the tooth enamel, maintains its whiteness, and protects it from acids and harmful bacteria. However, since babies are unable to spit out toothpaste and tend to swallow it, too much fluoride in the system can cause a condition called fluorosis, which is the formation of white spots on the child's teeth. Normally, the water supplies that you get will be fortified with fluoride, so your baby should be getting enough of it whenever you give him formula, other fluids such as juices, or just plain water. In fact, even doctors suggest that infants should start using fluoride toothpaste only after the age of two.
- Avoid giving your baby anything, whether eatables or teething toys that are hard to chew on. Rather provide baby with teething toys which are soft, yet firm and won’t hurt his teeth.
- Avoid feeding baby too much sugar as baby’s teeth are more likely to get cavities. Also, do not put a milk bottle in baby’s mouth when putting him to sleep at night.
You can start your baby's dental check-ups by the time he turns one. It's always a good idea to rule out any signs of decay or issues by proactively consulting a dentist. If your baby doesn't get his first tooth by 18 months or so, you should consult a dentist.