Parents should introduce infant tooth care at the start of your baby’s life. That is before their first tooth appears because certain factors can affect their future look and health. It should begin when the mother is pregnant by avoiding certain medicines, such as tetracycline, which causes tooth discoloration. There are specific practices that every infant-parent should know. These include:
- Protecting your baby’s teeth against baby bottle decay.
- Ensuring they receive enough fluoride.
- Cleaning an infant’s teeth and gums with a washcloth or gauze after each feed even before their teeth erupt.
- You can start brushing their teeth when the first tooth erupts.
- Minimizing the intake of sugary foods and liquids.
- Visiting a dentist before their first birthday for an oral exam which gives them a better chance at having healthy teeth.
- Start flossing between an infant’s teeth when their teeth touch.
Baby Bottle Decay: What It Is, and How You Can Prevent It
When you put babies to sleep with a bottle of sugary liquids like juice, formula, or milk, sugars produce acids that remain on the teeth for hours. These acids eat away the enamel and destroy the teeth by causing discoloration, poking, pitting, and cavities starting with the lower and upper front teeth. You can prevent baby bottle decay by:
- Avoiding nap and bedtime feeds
- Not putting your child to sleep on the bottle or while breastfeeding
- Giving them some water to wash away the sugars after a feed
- Weaning the baby off the bottle to cup by the time they are one year
- Wiping your child’s teeth and gums with a clean and wet soft cloth or gauze pad.
Why Fluoride Is an Essential Part of An Infant’s Diet
Fluoride is a beneficial mineral that hardens the tooth enamel to protect the teeth from decay. Luckily, fluoride is a common constituent of tap water, and a few ounces of water a day is enough for good tooth development. It is important to note that bottled water is devoid of fluoride. Please confirm with your local water district and consult with your pediatrician to determine whether the fluoride in the tap water is enough for your child or require fluoride supplements. Your doctor may also recommend a quick and painless fluoride varnish application, which provides an extra shield against cavities.
Brushing Infant Teeth
As earlier mentioned, infant tooth care begins with wiping the gums with a soft cloth, gauze before the teeth appear. This gentle practice delays growth of bacteria inside your baby’s mouth. You can proceed to use a soft-bristled toothbrush once the first tooth appears with a grain-sized amount of toothpaste twice or thrice a day. Please help your child brush their teeth up until they can brush all sides, spit, and rinse independently.
Make an Early Dentist Visit
To ensure your child has clean, happy, and healthy teeth, book an appointment with the friendly and professional Mountain View Dental office. We are glad to answer any of your questions, do a thorough examination of your baby’s teeth as well as offer you advice on how you can maintain your darling’s bright and healthy smile.