Five tips to healthy baby teeth

Five tips to healthy baby teeth

Healthy baby teeth are essential! Baby smiles with open-mouth gummy joy or one or two-tooth mirth are genuinely an uplifting sight to behold. Nobody can resist the charm of a friendly, happy baby! 

Cute as all the smiles are, as soon as your baby starts teething, it is time to take care of his or her oral health. Most parents don’t know that dental care should begin even before the first baby tooth appears. Many wait until the baby has a few teeth before they start brushing and rinsing, but by then, some decay may have already occurred! 

The importance of baby teeth 

Keep those gums and first teeth clean, no matter how much the baby whines and drools with the discomfort of teeth popping out. Baby teeth have an essential role to play in the development of your baby’s permanent teeth, as well as his or her digestive health.

Baby teeth have the important job of:

  • Holding spaces open for permanent teeth to eventually pop through
  • Forming the child’s facial shape
  • Helping the child speak clearly
  • Making chewing and eating easier

If the gums and first teeth aren’t cared for properly, many difficulties and discomfort will occur, as is the case with older children and adults. 

These include:

  • Tooth decay, pain and discomfort
  • Infections that can lead to complications such as breathing difficulties or throat infections
  • Underlying permanent teeth being damaged
  • Loss of space for the permanent teeth
  • The need for emergency care is costly. 

Hence a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums starts with caring for your baby’s gums and teeth before the teeth even appear. The teeth are there from birth, even though they first start popping out from six months onward. 

Cleaning gums and baby teeth

As tiny as the baby is, bacteria will attack the gums if you don’t keep on gently cleaning the delicate little mouth at least once a day. This practice will help with tenderness and soreness when the teeth start popping out. 

How do you keep the gums clean?

  • Sit on a comfortable chair or couch, cradling your baby’s head on your lap. Ensure that baby is comfortable too so that you have a good view into his or her mouth

Wrap a clean piece of gauze or a 

  • oft cloth around your index finger 
  • Dampen the gauze in clean water and gently wipe the gums and teeth 
  • When the baby is teething, dampen the gauze and place it in the freezer for a short time. This will help to numb tenderness when you wipe the gums. 
  • When the baby starts eating soft, solid foods, clean the mouth after every meal, to prevent bacteria from forming. 

Prevent baby bottle tooth decay 

When you start bottle feeding your baby, be very careful and immediately put some far-reaching rules and timelines in place. Tooth decay lurks at every turn, and if you want to get a peaceful night’s rest and not have a grumpy baby in pain, these are the dos and don’ts of babies and bottles:

  • Don’t use the bottle as a pacifier. Feed them when they’re awake until they have their fill
  • Give them a little water after feeding and then gently clean their mouths with clean gauze dipped in water 
  • Don’t lay them down with a bottle or let them have it on hand for an extended period. Say no to nap time and bedtime feedings. 
  • The contents of the bottle, whether it’s baby formula, cow’s milk, breast milk or juice, all contain sugars, which turn into acid that becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. And these all lead to erosion of the teeth enamel
  • When the baby turns a year, teach him/her how to use a sippy-cup rather than let him/her continue using the bottle.  

Say NO to sugar

Be the boring parent and say no to juice, gummies, cake and all the other sugary temptations the world has to offer. Bacteria love the warm conditions in the mouth that sugar makes. And where there are bacteria, gum disease, gingivitis and tooth decay will follow. Instead, feed them soft-cooked sweet vegetables like butternut, carrots or sweet potato to satisfy their craving for something sweet. And when it comes to medicine, try and find a sugar-free option rather than the sweetened variety, which will turn to acid and cause all the rest of the risks, says Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Time to brush baby teeth

Once the first baby tooth appears, brushing can begin with a soft baby brush and a half-a-pea size drop of toothpaste. However, babies can’t spit out fluoride toothpaste, so manufacturers suggest using fluoride-free toothpaste that is safe to swallow. 

And as baby grows into a spirited, independent toddler, don’t relinquish control of the brush. Their little hands will not be able to brush properly. And it will take them a while before they grasp the finer details of proper brushing techniques. 

Visits to the dentist

By the time your toddler turns twos, get him/her to the dentist in time to detect any problems or habits that you are unaware of. 

Also, to ensure a lifetime of good dental hygiene, regular visits to the dentist or oral hygienist should be sold as a happy adventure rather than a fear-causing event. After all, you would do anything to regularly receive gifts of bright, healthy smiles of innocence. 

And of course, always consult a dental professional if you need any oral healthcare advice. 

Affinity Dental

Dental insurance will ensure that you can access affordable and reliable professional dental care. It helps you to cover the cost of several medical procedures, check-ups and even some dental emergencies. 

Dental insurance policies help many people to budget effectively for the cost of major dental procedures by paying a monthly premium instead of having to hand over a large lump sum.

We all need to visit the dentist at least twice a year. Maintenance appointments can start to add up in your budget.

Usually, a dentist will refer you to a specialist, if needed. 

If you need to find an Affinity Dental approved dentist in your area, click here.

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