Oral care for an infant begins during pregnancy itself. A baby’s teeth form before birth, so it is imperative for the mother to not only have a balanced, nutritious diet but also regular dental checkups to treat any cavities or gum disease.
Infants have evolving needs and they depend on their parents and caregivers for most of them. Their oral care is one of the things that need your attention to ensure a lifetime of good dental health for them. Read on to find out how to best care for your infant’s oral health care.
Paediatric Dentist Visits
Babies get their teeth from 6 months up to 2 years. All the 20 baby teeth, or milk teeth usually surface by 3 years of age. Begin dentist visits from when your baby gets their first tooth so the dentist can assess dental health right from the beginning. Also, your little one gets accustomed to visiting the dentist and establishes a friendly relationship with them.
Even before the teeth erupt, ensure you clean their mouth and gums gently with a damp cloth after every feeding. When the teeth do surface, use a soft bristled toothbrush to clean them twice a day. Start using a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth, when they are old enough to spit.
Babies get restless when they are teething. They may get sore gums, and may start feeding and sleeping differently. This might lead to problems of indigestion and/ or loose motions.
Breast milk and baby formula are your babies’ main food for the first 6 months. When you are feeding your little one, don’t let him/ her fall asleep with the bottle in the mouth. Some milk might remain on their mouth and teeth which increases the likelihood of tooth decay.
Bottle to cup
As your baby starts growing older, move them from drinking in a bottle to a cup. They should be comfortable using a cup by their first birthday.
Plain milk is the best choice for your growing baby. Being rich in calcium, they make the teeth strong and healthy. Flavoured milk, fruit juices and packaged drinks have sugar in them and could lead to tooth decay. It’s best to not feed them those.
Babies can consume solids from around 6 months of age. Encourage them to snack on healthy food items. Give them foods that help them develop and grow, cutting out sugary foods from their daily diet.
It’s important that the entire family practices dental hygiene and a healthy diet so your baby can follow suit. Because, good baby teeth will lead to healthy adult teeth, and habits like these should be enforced right from childhood.