Infants are delicate to handle, and, without adequate care, they may fall ill at any moment. At their age, young children cannot explain their problems. You, therefore, need to be extra careful to make sure that you protect them from any infections. As might want to know, oral health is the most common aspect that falls at risk at the tender age.
Since oral hygiene and health are influential to the infant’s well-being, including at their later stages in life, it is crucial to monitor your baby and do everything possible to protect them. This article will help you to ensure that your infant stays healthy as you feed and care for them.
Follow the tips to care for your baby’s oral health effectively.
1. Clean the Infant’s Gums After Feeding
Whether they are only feeding on breast milk or other liquid foods, cleaning your baby’s gums is a necessity. At their early stage in life, probably up to the age of six months, babies have no teeth. Therefore, it is easier to clean them. However, it might not be easy for you to handle the babies at this age, so patience and a little bit of creativity are essential to get the job done successfully.
After feeding in the evening, or in the day, clean their gums, before putting them to sleep. Like any other person, young babies also have bacteria in their mouths, which they get from everything that enters their mouth. Use a soft piece of cloth, dipped in warm water, to clean the baby’s gums. Massage them gently.
Something you need to be careful about is dental caries. The infection is transmissible, and if you are not careful, you may transfer your dental infection to your baby. The best practice against the possibility is to ensure that you do not share baby utensils with anybody else, and do not keep them together. Avoid checking the temperature of the feeding bottle with your mouth or tongue. And you should not lick the infant’s food when you are feeding them.
2. Take the Baby to the Dentist Early
Most babies start teething at around the age of six months. Some start as early as four months, while a few also start at seven. This stage is significant for the dental health of your infant. As a parent, you want your child to have the best smile and perfect teeth as they grow up. Because of that, you should visit the pediatric dentist as early as the first tooth appears.
Pedodontists have extra training that helps them to handle the needs of infants and toddlers in matters of dentistry. With their child psychology expertise, they can easily communicate with young children when giving them dental care. The visit to a pediatric dentist will also help you to learn how to care for the oral hygiene of your kid and prevent any injuries that could lead to dental malformations.
3. Practice the Dental Hygiene Habits on Your Child
Whatever you do with your mouth and teeth is also ideal for your young baby. You brush and floss your teeth every day, and you would want to do it the same with your child. Before their teeth emerge, you can start brushing their mouth. But remember; initially, you are to use a soft piece of cloth when the infant is young to avoid injury. When they are about to start teething, their gums have now developed. At this stage, use a toothbrush meant for infants to clean them.
At the onset of the first tooth, start using toothpaste to clean your baby’s mouth. The toothpaste needs to have fluoride to help the young and tender teeth to grow strong. Brushing should be twice a day, at minimum. Do not let your baby go to sleep at night without cleaning their mouth with toothpaste to keep bacteria away.
As soon as the teeth come in contact, start practicing flossing. Food particles can start to accumulate between the teeth and attract bacteria that can damage them and require crown pediatrics‘ intervention for treatment. Even if your baby has not started eating solid food, it is best practice to floss before bedtime. After flossing, you can only give the baby drinking water.
Mouthwash is an excellent way to keep a young baby’s mouth clean. However, the baby cannot understand how to use it and may end up swallowing. When they learn to spit and understand your instructions, you can start using mouthwash for cleaning their mouths before going to bed.
4. Keep Juices and Beverages Away
Juices taste sugary, and they can keep your child happy before you can feed them. But wait. You would end up harming your baby instead of helping them. Commercial juices contain lots of added sugar and minimal fruit extract. They are also acidic and could cause damage to your child’s dental health. If you have to give your child fruit juice, ensure it is a pure fruit extract. You can make it at home, and feed the baby no more than four ounces (100ml) per day.
Whenever your child is hungry, or at any time you want to feed them, please stick to regular food free from sugars. Do not substitute water for juice or beverage at any time.
5. Encourage the Use of a Pacifier to Age 3
It is a normal habit for children to suck at anything at any time. When not feeding, they can suck on their fingers. However, pacifiers are better for the purpose instead of the finger or thumb. Getting your kid a pacifier should help them to sleep better, and it enhances oral hygiene since it reduces induced bacteria in the infant’s mouth.
At the age of three, your child should stop sucking and put away the pacifier. They should not suck on it when their permanent teeth start to appear. Stopping the habit earlier can help to prepare the gums to align the permanent teeth properly when they appear. You may want to consult your pedodontist about the best practices about using a pacifier.
Oral care is delicate, especially to infants who do not understand what to do to keep their mouths clean and healthy. As a parent, you should help your child to maintain her oral hygiene and health at all stages until she grows up and understands how to care for herself. Moreover, the habits that you cultivate at such a young age would stay with them throughout their lives.
This article has given you five of the most important tips to keep in mind for all oral care needs when you have a child of tender age. Please note that what you have read here does not contain everything regarding infant dental care. You should consult your nearest pediatric dentist for further and personalized assistance and guidelines.