Photo by Shalev Cohen on Unsplash
Even before your child’s teeth come in, you need to be caring for their gums. This paves the road for good oral hygiene when their first tooth comes in. It also gets your baby used to brushing their teeth, when teeth finally grow in. If your baby doesn’t like you cleaning their gums, try singing a song or letting them play with a toy, so they can learn to get comfortable with brushing their gums and teeth.
Good oral hygiene is important for your baby even when they don’t have teeth yet. Having healthy gums lets healthy baby teeth come in, and baby teeth are important for healthy permanent teeth to come in. Healthy baby teeth let your child talk more clearly and eat easier. They also hold open spaces for permanent teeth to come in. If something happens, and permanent teeth don’t grow in where they’re supposed to be, this could lead to braces down the road, and no kid wants braces.
When your baby’s gums and teeth are uncared for, this can lead to cavities, pain and discomfort, damage on permanent teeth, or loss of space for permanent teeth to come in. It can also affect the overall health of your child, and, in worst cases, your child may need emergency care.
The most common tooth disease is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. This is caused when your baby goes to bed with a sweetened liquid in their mouth, like breast milk, formula, soda, or any fruit juice. The liquid stays around their teeth and on their gums and can cause damage.
Your child’s first tooth should start growing in when they’re six months old, but it’s never too early to start your child’s oral hygiene. Diseases can infiltrate the gums and cause problems down the road. Here are some ways to care for your child’s gums and teeth:
At least once or twice a day, clean your baby’s mouth with a clean gauze or soft cloth. Make sure they’re laying down and comfortable. You can put their head on your lap. Just make sure that they’re comfortable and you can clearly see their mouth. Take the cloth and run some water over it, just to get it damp, not wet. Then place the cloth over your finger and gently rub your baby’s gums in a circular motion.
Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle
Milk, no matter what kind, has natural sugars in it that coat your child’s mouth. Those sugars cause cavities in teeth because the sugar just sits on your child’s teeth or gums, and it’s important for your child to not rely on the bottle in bed to get to sleep. Avoid bedtime and naptime feedings and give your child a small amount of water at the end of the feeding.
Avoid sharing anything that goes in your baby’s mouth
Tooth decay is an infectious transmissible disease. Avoid sharing utensils or cleaning a pacifier or bottle nipple with your mouth. Also avoid testing the temperature of the bottle with your mouth. When your child starts teething, make sure their cold teething ring or cold wet washcloth hasn’t touched anyone’s mouth.
Doing these things can help prevent things like baby bottle tooth decay, and it can bring your baby a healthier life.