Tips On Oral Care For Your Little One
As moms, we want the best for our children. We make sure they have enough servings of fruits and vegetables. We want the best and safest lotions, soaps, and diapers. We make sure our children have adequate visits to their pediatrician to maintain good health. So why are teeth somewhat put on the back burner by many or not thought of as a primary part of good health?
Good oral health begins as an infant. I have always suggested to my new Mom patients that after putting baby in the bath (tub or sink), use a clean baby bath cloth and wet it with warm water, squeezing out any access water. Simply wipe baby’s gingiva on both top and bottom. Baby will suck and/ or bite. That’s ok! It feels good to his/ her gums!
Make gingival cleaning a daily routine. Bath time is ideal because one can incorporate oral care and body care together in one session. This provides a healthy environment for the first tooth when it erupts!
After the first tooth erupts, begin using an extra soft baby toothbrush that is approved by the American Dental Association. The toothbrush can be used with water alone or a baby cleansing gel that is fluoride free. Since baby can not adequately spit out fluoridated toothpaste until later, it is best to use fluoride free at this time.
It’s very important not to put baby down for a nap or bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on these sugars and make acids that attack the teeth. The natural sugars from these beverages can greatly increase the cavity rate and cause baby bottle caries. This is a term used when cavities throughout the teeth are present from the sugary drinks (natural or refined) setting on the teeth for extended periods of time.
Continue to brush your baby’s teeth daily. Ideally, it’s best to make sure brushing is done twice a day. In reality, you will be doing great if you brush baby’s teeth once a day, preferably at night to get the “days collection” of plaque and food debris.
Your child’s first dental checkup depends on the dentist. I usually did a “happy visit” when baby would come in with mom or dad. Doing a quick, fun, but efficient quick check will allow a way to make sure the child’s dentition is coming in and the oral cavity and teeth are “happy and healthy”! If the child comes in with mom or dad to their appointments, the child sees how easy and fun a dental visit may be!
Usually at the age of three is when an official cleaning and exam is done because all of the primary teeth are fully erupted and the child’s behavior is mature enough to endure a quick and light hearted visit!
I suggest getting children’s books about going to the dentist and talking to your child before going. Talking about how fun it will be and how easy it will be will ease your child’s mind and yours, too! The Berenstain Bears series has a sweet book about going to the dentist and I highly recommend it!
I hope these suggestions and insight will help give you and your child a great and happy start to a healthy, bright smile for years to come!
I write about life and family. My heart's desire is to educate as I am being educated, while inspiring and encouraging others through the beauty of Down Syndrome.