Not many parents know that dental hygiene for babies can start well before there are any visible teeth. Yes, infants aren’t the most accommodating when it comes to cleaning their mouths or faces, but there are some non-invasive techniques that can be used to keep their tiny mouths clean and fresh.
In the early days, before any white choppers sprout from the gums, there is no need for a toothbrush. Simply take a cotton swab or ball and dip it in some oral glycerine. Use this to wipe down your baby’s tongue and gums. Your baby will welcome the sweet taste, but be careful not to use too much glycerine, as it may cause an upset tummy. Vegetable glycerine deprives bacteria and spores of moisture to dehydrate and render them sterile, explains Global healing. It also keeps the skin and lips supple and moisturised, which really helps for babies who get a thrush mouth from breastfeeding.
Water and gauze
For people who prefer to not use any glycerine or chemicals, even toothpaste, water and gauze are a great natural alternative. Gauze wrapped around your index finger is abrasive enough to clean the inside of your baby’s mouth, without being harmful or causing injury.
Once teeth appear though, it is advisable to start using toothpaste specially designed for your child’s age group.
The amount of fluoride toothpaste can be increased to a pea-sized dab for children 3 to 6 years of age, suggests Colgate. Be sure your baby spits out the excess toothpaste after he/she has brushed his/her teeth.
Make sure to change your child’s toothbrush regularly. Germs can breed between bristles if not properly sterilised.
Also, did you know you can floss your baby’s teeth? Once your baby has two or more teeth next to one another, it is a good idea to gently floss and remove any residue from food or treats. This will prevent any tooth decay.