Good oral care is crucial not just for adults, but even for infants. It is the responsibility of parents to make sure that their little ones have healthy teeth and gums. Even at a young age, it is critical to be proactive in promoting the best dental care.
If you are clueless about the best practices for infant oral care, read on and learn from the tips we’ll be sharing in this short guide.
Tips and Tricks for Infant Oral Care
From soothing a crying baby to establishing a peaceful bedtime routine, parents have a lot of things to learn when it comes to raising infants. One thing that you must not overlook is dental care. Even before the appearance of their first tooth, you need a proactive approach in promoting what is best for their oral health.
1. Clean the Gums After Feeding
As parents, we are busy. Even if we are often in a rush, however, there are some things that we must not forget, and that includes gum care of infants. Once we are done feeding them, clean the gums. When they are only a few months, brushing is not yet feasible. Hence, the best thing to do is to wipe their gums.
Unlike adults, infants have less saliva. This also means that they will need help to ward off bacteria that can build up in their mouth. Start by washing your hands with mild soap and water. Then use a gauze pad or thin damp cloth for cleaning the gums.
2. Brush Regularly
When it comes to good oral hygiene habits, regular brushing is one of the must-haves for infants. Nonetheless, you should not start too early. The general practice for most parents is to begin brushing once the first tooth appears. Before such, wiping the gums is enough.
When brushing an infant’s teeth, one of the most important is to use a small-headed toothbrush with soft bristles. Do this once in the morning and one more time before going to bed. Use a thin coating and brush the teeth in a circular motion for two minutes.
3. Find the Right Toothpaste
It is not enough to brush your infant’s teeth. Aside from the choice of a toothbrush, equally important is the choice of toothpaste. It should be effective without containing toxic chemicals that can harm the health of your little one.
In one study from The University of Manchester, it has been concluded that using fluoride toothpaste can reduce tooth decay by up to 24%. The same study notes that there is an increased risk of fluorosis, so you should use only a small amount.
4. Visit the Dentist
Based on the recommendations of experts, a child should visit the dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts. This can happen anywhere from six to 12 months. By visiting the dentist, you will know the specific steps that should be undertaken to ensure the best oral health for the little ones.
During the visit, the dentist will examine the child’s mouth and teeth. This is an opportunity to spot any potential problem, allowing parents to act accordingly. The dentist can also advise on preventive care to avoid a wide array of dental problems that are common in children.
5. Get a Fluoride Varnish
The appearance of an infant’s first tooth signals the need for more proactive dental care. Among others, one of the must-haves is fluoride varnish. It is a dental treatment that will prevent and slow down tooth decay. It uses fluoride, a mineral that is responsible for strengthening the enamel, making teeth less prone to dental caries.
A lot of you are probably concerned about the safety of fluoride varnish. However, if it is done by a qualified dental professional, then there is no reason for you to worry. It uses a tiny amount of fluoride, which is almost impossible to be swallowed and has a negative health impact on your infant.
6. Limit the Use of Pacifiers
The use of pacifiers has always been a controversial topic. Having a dummy is a good way to soothe fussy babies. It can also prevent sudden infant death syndrome. Nonetheless, prolonged use can result in several dental problems, including misaligned teeth. While there is nothing wrong with giving your infant a pacifier, do so responsibly.
At a young age, it is best to give a pacifier only at a set time, such as during bedtime. This way, the infant will not form a habit of always having something in their mouth, making weaning easier when they come at the right age, which is often three years old.
7. Relieve Pain from Teething
As parents, it is painful when we see that our kids are in pain. A good example of such is when they are teething. As the tooth emerges, infants will suffer from discomfort. You can minimise such by knowing the right teething strategies.
Among others, one of the best things to do is to provide teething toys. These are toys that they can chew to minimise discomfort. Rubbing their gums with a clean finger will also help in pain relief.
8. Build a Healthy Diet
A nutritious diet is a key to raising healthy kids. Especially amongst infants, parents must be mindful of the foods that they eat. Stay away from foods and drinks that are laden with sugar, which can encourage tooth decay. Acidic foods, such as fruit juices, can also have a bad impact on their teeth.
By giving infants a healthy diet, they can get used to foods that are good for their teeth and overall health. This is one habit that they might bring with them when they grow up. Hence, it is easier to encourage them to eat foods that won’t put their dental health at risk.
From cleaning the gums to healthy eating habits, this article talked about some of the best ways to ensure proper oral health amongst infants. As parents, we must exert proactive efforts in making sure that our little ones will have healthy teeth.