The importance of your baby’s early and regular oral hygiene
How to choose a baby toothpaste and when to introduce it?
Considering the amount of toothpaste brands out there on the market, baby doesn’t actually need a special brand. The most important thing to remember and do is introduce baby safe fluoride toothpaste as soon as you notice that first tooth erupt. Another important thing to remember is the baby’s tooth (teeth) only need a streak of toothpaste, since most babies tend to swallow the toothpaste instead of spitting it.
It is highly recommended to expose baby’s teeth (just as for adults) to fluoride as soon as a tooth is starting to emerge; because baby’s teeth absorb fluoride instantly, it is important to make sure the amount of toothpaste is safe for swallowing.
That’s why it is sufficient enough to cover baby’s teeth with a light film of fluoride. So make sure you are playing it safe, because excess of fluoride can be toxic to baby!
Do not get lost while choosing a baby themed toothpaste, as the brand does not matter. What matters the most is that it should contain fluoride. Another thing to remember is that babies under age 1 only require a smear of toothpaste, while elder kids may just do well with a pea size (roughly the size of a grain of rice) of toothpaste applied to their teeth.
Should I use a baby toothbrush and what kind?
As it was suggested by Sultan’s paediatric nurse during his initial dental follow up (at his 6 months appointment) even before he had any teeth, it is best to use a damp washcloth to clean baby’s gums (without any fluoride toothpaste). She had demonstrated how to clean Sultan’s gums step by step; all you need is a washcloth and lukewarm water. Just dampen a washcloth to wipe his gums down at least twice a day. This is a crucial routine to help your baby get accustomed to having toothbrush in his/her mouth.
Once the baby has got a hang of having his teeth brushed, you may move to using a baby tooth brush. Since tooth brushing routine must be in place by the time baby starts teething, during this stage baby likes harder objects to bite on to sooth the gums. When choosing a baby toothbrush, consider to pick one that has soft bristles so it is gentle on your baby’s gums.
Should I show my baby to a paediatric dentist and when?
It may sound weird to recommend your baby to have his first paediatric dentist appointment at as early as 6 months, since there is no much to check up on, however, it is important for your baby to visit a paediatric dentist and keep up with every appointment. Your baby’s paediatric dentist will be able to asses any possible risk factors regarding the oral hygiene. The dentist may educate and state if the parents are doing the right thing to keep the baby’s oral hygiene healthy, such as, when and how much of fluoride toothpaste to be introduced. Also, the dentist will advise whether your baby should be given a bottle of milk during night time, since it is considered as the biggest risk factor for your baby’s first teeth.
Sultan’s paediatric dentist had advised us to gradually stop giving him a bottle of milk at night time, since, formula milk contains sugar, which if given to baby during night time will cause harmful bacteria to develop in his mouth.
Another most common mistake many parents do, is allowing their kids to indulge in excessive drinking of juice. Nevermind the kid’s desire for sugary drinks and foods, it is very important to have the teeth brushed thoroughly afterwards. The logical reason for having to brush your kid’s teeth after such sugary drinks is that juices are very acidic and may cause damage to the kid’s teeth.
All of the above and more questions may be answered by your kid’s paediatric dentist. That’s why it is recommended to have your baby visit the dentist from early on to create a routine experience and get your baby comfortable with the dentist.
Your baby’s diet vs oral health
We are what we eat, they say. Of course food and drinks are the main way a baby’s mouth acquires bacteria. Many toddlers may have a tooth decay due to excessive amounts of sugary foods and drinks they consume.
Apart from a good oral hygiene, depending on diet type, kids grow up to develop a food preference, which will likely remain the same when they grow up.
Please feel free to comment and share your personal experience about your kid’s oral hygiene.