Brushing baby teeth: When to start and how
Teething is a painful process and maintaining dental hygiene is paramount in babies. Here are a few tips to get started with the brushing process.
Teething in babies is a painful period. They are cranky, they don’t eat and have to be constantly kept distracted from the pain in their gums. However, after a few weeks of being fussy and moody, when you see a tiny, little tooth trying to spring up to life through the gums, you know it is time to celebrate! After all, it is your baby’s first tooth. The teeth that grow at this age are eventually replaced by a permanent set of teeth. By the age of 12-13, almost all of your child’s baby teeth fall out and permanent teeth come in. However, this doesn’t mean that the baby teeth or milk teeth are any less important. Dental hygiene needs to be maintained in babies from an early age. It prevents bacterial and fungal infections in later stages of life. Thus, brushing baby teeth and cleaning their gums regularly is important for their health.
1. Pre-teething oral hygiene
Even before your baby’s first teeth start to appear, you should be cleaning their gums and tongue regularly. Take a clean cloth, wet it a little and then use the cloth to clean your baby’s gums. It is especially important to clean their tongue and gums after you feed them. You can also find cute finger brushes available in the market which can be used for the same purpose. According to pediatricians, cleaning a baby’s mouth regularly helps in fighting bacterial infection and prevents the chances of dental problems during their early years. Finger brushes can be used even after the baby’s teeth start growing because they have a gentle touch which babies love.
2. Start brushing baby teeth early
Dentists recommend that you should start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as the first tooth grows. First time brushing might be a little uncomfortable for your baby because it will be a relatively new process. Your baby might create a fuss and avoid brushing, which is why you have to make sure that he/she enjoys brushing by making it seem like a fun activity. Sing a song, do actions, reward them with a kiss, etc. Be creative with your ideas so that eventually your baby starts looking forward to brushing their teeth. Another great way to make brushing seem like an attractive activity is by buying cute toothbrushes for your baby. Consult your pediatrician for recommendations regarding what kind of toothbrush to buy.
3. How often should you brush?
It is advisable to start brushing baby teeth at least twice a day. Dentists say that brushing teeth once in the morning and once before sleeping at night is the key to good oral health. Other than this, their gums and tongue should be cleaned after each meal with a soft, damp cloth. Even in adults, gums are highly sensitive, but for kids, these areas are even more tender. Thus, parents should be very careful while cleaning baby’s gums and teeth. Always make sure that the cloth you use is clean, the brush is covered after use and the clothes and finger brushes used are sanitized and safe. Moreover, do not overdo anything. Brushing baby teeth more than required can also cause gums to tear.
4. Teach babies to brush
As a parent, you should brush your baby’s teeth at least till the age of 6-7 years. However, even after this, you should assist them while they learn to brush. One of the easiest ways to do this is by brushing together. When babies see their parents brush, they automatically tend to imitate their actions. Also, do not panic if your baby ends up swallowing toothpaste because it is a common phenomenon and is not harmful. Once your baby knows the routine, he/she will follow and remember it even when you are not there to assist. Teaching babies to brush and take care of their teeth is a tricky task but is essential. Inculcating good oral habits from an early age is important to keep your child safe from cavities and plaque as they grow older.
5. Other necessities for dental care
Your work as a parent doesn’t end only by knowing what is good for your baby’s good dental health. In fact, you also need to know what is bad for them and should be avoided. For starters, oral hygiene depends extensively on what food your baby eats and what he/she drinks. Once your baby starts drinking water, make sure they are getting an ample amount of it. Apart from keeping your baby hydrated, water also helps in keeping their gums clean. When your child is just starting to grow teeth, avoid giving them juices or other sugary drinks. In fact, avoid these drinks as much as possible in the early stage of your baby’s life as it is very easy for bacteria to settle in because of these.
For further assistance, you can always consult pediatricians and dentists who can give you tips regarding your baby’s dental care. mfine makes your work easier by providing you a platform where you can consult your city’s top pediatricians and dentists online. By downloading the mfine app, you can save time and get the best medical advice for your baby!