Advice from the tooth fairy...
8 Infant Oral Care Tips Every Parent Should Know
Dental care may not come to mind when you think about your baby’s health, but it is a vital part of caring for your infant.
What many parents may not know is that even before the baby’s first tooth appears, they can start preventing dental problems.
Some common problems your baby may experience include lip sucking, tongue thrusting, thumb sucking, tooth decay, and even early tooth loss.
In this post, we will introduce you to 8 infant oral care tips every parent should know. These tips will play a big role in helping your baby grow healthy.
Read on to learn more!
The future health of your baby is really dependent on the mother’s nutrition and the quality of the breast milk.
Of course, breastfeeding puts a lot of pressure on the mother. But, it’s important to do everything you can to allow your infant to breastfeed. At the very least, try to do it for a year, if you can.
The latching-on mechanism the baby uses to hold onto the nipple is very important. Muscles that form the jaw bone and the lower face become super strong. Breastfeeding helps the baby have correct movement of the tongue without negatively impacting oral health.
Bottle feeding, on the other hand, may cause improper swallowing and incorrect airway problems. If you don’t produce enough milk, see a paediatrician for professional assistance.
2. Clean Baby Gums Twice a Day
Regular and proper cleaning of the gums and tongue helps prevent bacterial accumulations and bad breath. It also lowers the risk of gum disease and oral infections.
You need some cool water and a washcloth to clean your baby’s gums and tongue. Start by soaking the washcloth in clean, cool water and then wring it out. Wrap the damp cloth around your index finger. Then, gently and strategically run the damp cloth over the tongue and the surface of your infant’s gums.
Don’t forget to swipe both the lower and upper surfaces of the gums. It shouldn’t be difficult to squeeze your fingers past your infant’s lips.
3. Be Judicious With Pacifiers
It is very important to be careful with pacifiers when your infant is heavily dependent on breastfeeding.
Sucking is a basic need for a baby, providing both comfort and nourishment. The breast has long been the perfect tool to do this. Introducing a pacifier may interfere with your baby’s oral palate. You might have heard of nipple confusion. It is the idea that artificial nipples require a different sucking motion than the breast.
Once a baby has learned the wrong technique, they will not latch correctly at the breast. An incorrect latch can lead to painful nipples for the mother.
The baby might develop bite and jaw alignment problems along with other oral health issues.
4. Exercise Safe Soothing During Teething
Things may get a little bit tough for first-time parents when their baby starts teething (usually starts at 3 or 4 months). When teething starts, the first two bottom teeth will appear at the same time. The upper middle teeth will start to grow 8 months later.
There are several baby teething symptoms that may signal your baby is undergoing teething. One of the first signs is drooling, which may result in gagging and coughing. Constant drooling can lead to chafing, chapping, rashes, redness, and roughness.
Next, your baby may display crankiness and long bouts of crying. The emerging teeth may cause inflammation and pain that is unbearable for the baby. Teething may also increase body temperature and disrupt your baby’s sleeping habits.
You can help your baby by giving him or her plenty to chew on, including a variety of teethers. Try to chill your infant’s gums to numb them and ease swelling and inflammation.
But we strongly discourage you from using numbing gels because there is an ingredient in them that is easy to overdose for infants.
5. Don’t Feed Your Infant Sugary Drinks
Did you know that your baby may be affected by Mutans streptococcus, a round bacterium that contributes to tooth decay?
These bacteria feed on sugar and produce an acid that may dissolve and damage the enamel of your baby’s teeth. You can avoid this problem by not feeding your child sugary drinks. Also, avoid transferring bacteria from your mouth to the baby’s mouth. You may unwillingly transfer bacteria when you use your mouth to clean your baby’s pacifier.
Apart from causing tooth decay, sugary drinks may result in early childhood caries.
6. Avoid Sending Your Infant to Bed with a Bottle
It isn’t advisable to send your baby to bed with a bottle. This is probably one of the biggest causes of cavities in infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents against this behaviour.
The first thing your baby will do is associate food with sleeping, which may not be a very good habit. Then there is the possibility of choking and damaging future baby teeth. The milk that is pooled in the infant’s mouth may result in serious tooth decay.
You could, however, put a baby to sleep with breastfeeding.
Brushing is necessary when the baby teeth are finally out. Introducing your infant to a toothbrush shouldn’t be a difficult proposition. Make sure you lift your baby’s lips to check for brown or white spots along the gumline.
We recommend you use a toothbrush that is specifically designed for infants, usually with soft bristles. You only need to use a rice grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. As more teeth appear, continue to teach and encourage your baby to use his or her toothbrush.
Never put the baby’s toothbrush in your mouth and then in the baby’s mouth. Also, don’t use sweeteners with the baby’s toothbrush.
8. Schedule an Appointment With the Dentist
It is always a good thing to start taking your baby to the dentist as early as possible. Some parents may prefer to schedule a dentist appointment when their babies are teething.
Whichever the case, dental checkups will help improve your baby’s oral health by preventing tooth decay and cavities. Your infant will also get used to the dentist’s environment.
These tips should help you provide the best possible oral care for your baby. Aside from maintaining proper oral hygiene, remember to also start early when it comes to dental appointments as this will help your kid feel comfortable when visiting the dentist.
Written for us by 8 Infant Oral Care: for more information see here: