Taking care of your baby's teeth and gums

Parentree-editors 2008-08-17 01:28:25

Indian parents can set their child on a lifelong path of good dental health by giving them good dental care even as a baby. Even though most babies start teething only when they are 6 months or older,  teeth are formed in the baby's jaw even at birth. At birth, they have not made their appearance yet1.

Dental health tips for use before teething1

  • Gently wipe the baby's gums with a wet gauze to remove any residual milk, after feeding
  • If you feed your child in the night before she goes to bed or when she wakes up at night, clean her gums after feeding her.
  • If you are bottle feeding, do not let your baby go to sleep with the bottle in his mouth.
  • If using a pacifier, don't dip it in honey or other sweet liquids
  • At this age, the child should be fully breastfed. If you cannot breastfeed, use a formula substitute but do not give the child any added sugar

Dental health tips after teething1

  • Use a gentle soft toothbrush to brush the baby's teeth. Do not use a hard bristle toothbrush as this can affect the enamel of the teeth.  Get into the routine of brushing teeth in the morning and before going to bed.
  • If you feed your child in the night, before she goes to bed or when she wakes up at night, clean her gums after feeding her.
  • If you are bottle feeding, do not let your baby go to sleep with the bottle in his mouth.
  • Try to wean your child from a bottle by the time he turns 12 months old. Teach him to drink out of a cup.
  • Babies do not need toothpaste. When they turn 1 year old, you can use a very small (pea sized) quantity of toothpaste. Teach your babies how to spit, before using toothpaste.
  • Supervise your child's brushing to ensure they do not swallow paste.
  • Do not give the child sugary liquids excessively. These keep increasing the child's desire for a sweet taste, which in turn can result in tooth decay.

Dental visits

  • Take the baby to a dentist within 6 months of teething, but definitely before he turns 1 year old
  • After that, take your child to the dentist for regular checks every 6 months
  • If you notice any tooth related problems, take the baby to the dentist immediately

Baby bottle tooth decay1

This misnomer of a term is used to indicate early tooth decay that can happen in babies and toddlers. It is also called "Early Childhood Caries". This can occur when the baby's teeth and gums are not cleaned, when sleeping follows a feeding. After a feeding, there are always traces of milk (or juice or formula) left behind in the mouth. If the baby is awake, the saliva flowing in the mouth will clean these traces and the baby will eventually swallow them. When the baby sleeps, saliva is minimized and swallowing does not take place. So the traces of the liquid that was fed remain in the mouth. These liquids (milk, formula, juice etc.,) contain sugars which help bacteria attack the baby teeth. This can be avoided by using the tips above.

References

1. Indian Dental Association, "Your Child's Teeth"


Comments

Jyotisna
2011-04-12 10:25:31

 

I have come across an aloe vera based toothpaste ideal for babies...no issue even if they don't spit ...totally healthy and 100%natural

 

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