You should begin brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they develop. Of course, starting sooner is always preferable. However, how can you brush their infant teeth without harming the gums? And how do you look after the teeth of your child?
Usually, babies don’t need a lot of things to keep their first teeth clean when they initially erupt. So, caring for your child’s teeth isn’t a particularly stressful task. The requirement for dental hygiene will, however, increase as they age. Therefore, here are some things to keep in mind when cleaning your baby’s teeth:
For Babies, Keep Things Soft And Simple
The best action while caring for your baby’s teeth is to keep things as simple as possible. Too much of the rough stuff can damage your child’s developing teeth and gums. Most of the time, you only need a soft towel and water for children under 18 months because they usually don’t need toothpaste. In addition, a good cleaning twice a day could help remove any plaque buildup. Typically, you’d want to clean their teeth once in the morning and once at night, after they had their last bottle.
In addition to using a soft towel, you might brush your baby’s teeth with a small, kid-sized toothbrush with soft bristles. If you’re wondering whether a toothbrush suits your child, a short glance over the container should answer your questions. If you decide to use a toothbrush, change it every one to three months.
You will frequently clean your teeth by yourself from infancy to age three. You can place your child on your lap facing away from you to make things simpler. When brushing their teeth, be gentle and make circular motions on the region where the gums and teeth adjoin.
You might want to let your child brush their teeth on their own. This gives children the freedom to clean their teeth in any way they wish, making the experience more enjoyable and teaching them how to take care of their teeth themselves.
Upgrade To Low-Fluoride Toothpaste As They Grow Up
You can switch from water to low-fluoride toothpaste once your child becomes 18 months old. Young children typically don’t need too much fluoride, as it could cause illnesses like diarrhea or mottling on the teeth. If they attempt to eat the toothpaste from the tube, discourage it as much as possible. You may also use a minty flavor to dissuade them from overconsumption.
Less is typically more when using toothpaste. The amount should be enough to cover the teeth thinly. When they reach three years, they can finally use the family toothpaste without worrying about the fluoride content. At this age, you can upgrade their toothpaste usage to a pea-sized amount to accommodate their growing teeth.
To avoid children ingesting the toothpaste, instruct them to spit it out after brushing their teeth. Do not rinse your young child’s mouth with water if they are under three because doing so will remove the fluoride film from their teeth. However, washing the mouth is acceptable for children three years old and older.
Caring for your child’s teeth doesn’t involve advanced science, but it requires parents to be persistent and patient.
Taking Care of Your Baby’s Dental Health From Day One
Baby teeth are essential to children’s daily lives despite eventually falling out. They play an important part in the general growth of the oral cavity and permanent teeth. Additionally, a baby’s oral health plays a vital role in a healthy set of teeth, strong gums, and reducing oral-related problems due to excess oral bacteria.
Why Are Baby Teeth Important?
Eating: Baby teeth are essential because they let them chew and bite their food, which facilitates easier digestion. With each tooth functioning in a certain way, these functions are crucial for the healthy growth of the normal jaw function.
For instance, the incisors facilitate biting and cutting food. In addition, the canines tear and break food. The molars are great for chewing, grinding, and breaking food particles.
#1 Speech. Baby teeth also help children with their speech. By regulating the airflow out of the mouth, they assist children in forming words along with the tongue, mouth, and lips. Additionally, they make particular noises when their tongue moves and interacts with their teeth differently.
#2 Permanent Teeth. More importantly, baby teeth are an essential foundation for adult teeth. When baby teeth develop and fall out the right way, they create space and guide the permanent teeth for their emergence.
When baby teeth fall out earlier than expected, the teeth next to them often shift and relocate to replace the space created by the missing tooth. The permanent tooth will struggle to erupt when this occurs because of the restricted space. As a result, this could result in a crowded or crooked set of teeth.
#3 Self-Confidence. Smiling is natural. 3D ultrasound images of developing babies suggest that even before people come out of their mother’s womb, they already know how to smile. Moreover, this facial expression carries on in their sleep when they are born.
Additionally, given that kids can smile up to 400 times daily, an infant’s teeth are crucial for boosting their self-esteem. Children with a complete set of healthy teeth are likelier to smile and interact with their peers.
Why Is Dental Health Important in Childhood?
Kids with healthy baby teeth are less likely to experience tooth pain and discomfort from cavities and tooth decay.
But without a healthy set of baby teeth, the infection may develop on the gums and surrounding teeth. As a result, this infection may eventually spread to other parts of the body, causing disease and weakening the immune system.
Cleaning your baby’s gums with a soft, damp washcloth before the first tooth erupts eliminates oral bacteria and milk buildup. As a result, the first teeth can emerge from a healthy foundation. Take a moment to consider: What holds the teeth in place? It’s the gums.
The gums play a vital role in the mouth, as you can imagine. Keeping the gums healthy and clean of bacteria and debris gives the teeth a safe environment to grow, develop, and persist for years. In addition, a healthy gum line is necessary for a healthy set of teeth. Since future pearly whites will soon form, cleaning the gums as soon as possible is essential to ensure a healthier mouth.
Baby teeth are sure to be healthy in a clean, healthy mouth. In addition, baby teeth in good health have a good chance of developing into permanent ones.
It makes sense that taking good care of your baby’s baby teeth will promote the future growth of permanent solid teeth. Once the first tooth appears, the objective should be to maintain your baby’s mouth as clean as possible by cleaning their teeth twice a day using a baby-sized toothbrush and a small drop of toothpaste. By monitoring your child’s oral health, you can better control the dangerous oral bacteria in your child’s mouth.
Once your child learns the proper oral hygiene techniques, it will be simpler for them to transition from caring for their baby teeth to their permanent teeth. After all, healthy teeth are easier to manage than unhealthy teeth.
Taking care of your baby’s gums and teeth as they grow is essential since cavities can form as soon as the first tooth erupts.
Cavities develop when oral hygiene practices are minimal or nonexistent. Without an oral health routine, oral bacteria will take over the mouth and literally rot and eat away at the teeth.
How Do Baby Teeth Appear?
A baby’s first set of teeth typically falls out between six months and a year after birth. However, there may be variance in age as to when the primary teeth will start to emerge and the number of teeth that will come out at a given time.
The two front bottom teeth are frequently the first infant teeth to erupt—the two front upper teeth then break through. Two baby teeth will often erupt at a time. A complete set of 20 baby teeth should appear by age three.
Baby teeth may have spaces between them which is perfectly normal. These spaces help make room for the emergence of permanent teeth in the future.
How To Care For Baby Teeth
You should take care of your baby’s teeth before the first tooth erupts. Parents should use gauze or a clean, wet washcloth to wipe their children’s gums. Here’s how to clean the gums using a washcloth or gauze:
- Use the washcloth or gauze to wrap your index finger.
- Use the wrapped index finger to massage the baby’s gums gently.
Parents can begin cleaning their children’s teeth with a soft toothbrush as soon as the baby’s teeth erupt. The bristles of the toothbrush must be soft nylon. Soak the bristles in warm water for a few minutes if they are not soft enough. It is best to use a toothbrush designed for children because it has a smaller head and a better grip.
Parents can use fluoridated toothpaste to supplement tooth cleaning by age two. However, be careful of the amount of fluoride that goes with brushing. Children should only use fluoridated toothpaste in a tiny amount, around the size of a baby’s pinky fingernail, and with fluoride levels less than 1,000 parts per million. Here’s how to properly brush a child’s teeth:
- Clean the inside and outside of your child’s teeth using gentle strokes.
- Clean their tongue as well to remove bacteria from the mouth.
It will be best to help kids wash their teeth to ensure the entire mouth is clean. Additionally, change their toothbrush frequently, particularly if the bristles start to fall off or wear out.
In addition to frequent brushing, taking children to the dentist for a checkup is critical. Children can visit the dental office for their first checkup at six months old. The dentist can then guide the frequency of dental appointments and strategies for maintaining the health of an infant’s teeth, such as using dental sealants.
It is crucial to check your child’s teeth as soon as possible to avoid issues with the development of permanent teeth.
Keeping kids healthy through adequate nutrition is essential, in addition to providing them with the necessary care to build their immune systems and enable them to better fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. Since sugary foods can cause cavities in baby teeth, keeping them out of their diet is essential. Additionally, there should be a limit on using a pacifier as it can affect the alignment of the teeth.
Losing Baby Teeth At School
Baby teeth will eventually fall out. However, it can be inconvenient for a child to lose a tooth while in school. Therefore, knowing what to do in such a situation is necessary.
There are also steps you may do as a parent to assist your child in getting ready for this occurrence:
- Discuss the potential of your child losing a tooth at school and advise them on what to do. Encourage them to avoid wiggling their tooth and to be extra cautious when eating to avoid the tooth falling out. If their tooth does fall out, tell them to inform their teacher or a staff member about the incident or to go directly to the nurse’s office if no adult is available to help them. Most teachers are familiar with how to manage similar situations.
- Prepare a container where the child can put their fallen tooth as the tooth becomes looser, the likelihood of it falling out increases.
- Don’t make your child feel guilty about the possibility of losing a tooth at school. Also, answer your child’s questions about losing a tooth to give them confidence in dealing with the situation.
“Baby Bottle Tooth Decay”
Nobody wants their child to develop cavities at a young age. However, tooth decay, unfortunately, occurs earlier than expected. Teething babies, in particular, can suffer from “baby bottle tooth decay,” which refers to tooth decay in young children and babies. This type usually occurs when sugars from your child’s bottle feed remain on the teeth for an extended period.
The contents of baby bottles accumulate in your child’s mouth
First, we must define what it is about nursing that promotes tooth decay. Breastfed babies appear to have fewer problems with this than bottle-fed children. Therefore, some believe that the invention of the baby bottle is to blame for the increase in infant tooth decay.
In contrast to breastfeeding, babies who receive nutrition from bottles may occasionally keep the bottle in their mouths for extended periods, such as during naps. The milk will eventually pool in your baby’s mouth if they keep the bottle in their mouth for a long time. The liquid then bathes the child’s teeth, where bacteria can potentially feed. As we previously discussed, oral bacteria convert the excess glucose into acid, which damages tooth enamel.
Long-term formula exposure causes developing teeth to settle in a sea of sugar. But, of course, bacteria will be able to take advantage of this sugar. They convert the milk’s sugars into acid, which erodes your child’s enamel. And because their enamel is still thin at that stage, they deteriorate more quickly.
Tips to prevent decay
Monitoring what goes into their bottle. If parents bottle-feed their children, they should try to avoid giving them sugary liquids. Even if you brush their teeth afterward, prolonged exposure to these sweets makes children more prone to tooth decay.
Not letting their child go to bed with the bottle. As your child’s teeth bathe in the liquid for a prolonged period, keeping the bottle in their mouths overnight increases the likelihood that they will develop tooth decay. Choose a bottle of water instead, if they do feel more comfortable having the bottle in their mouths.
Breastfeed as much as possible. While not all mothers can breastfeed, those who can take advantage of the opportunity.
Clean their mouths right after feeding. Cleaning your child’s mouth is a certain technique to stop early tooth decay when combined with preventative measures especially after every feed. In addition, cleaning the gums after feeding helps reduce the damage decay-causing bacteria could cause and prolong the health of your child’s future teeth, even if they haven’t yet developed milk teeth.
Cleaning the gums of young children who don’t yet have teeth should only require a thorough wipe with a soft cloth and water. After some time, you can update their regimen using a small, soft-bristled brush and a dab of low-fluoride toothpaste. They don’t have to rinse their mouths after every cleaning when they’re young, but you should ensure they spit out the toothpaste to avoid fluorosis.