Newborns have a complete set of twenty baby teeth embedded in their gums, which generally begin to erupt once they reach the age of six months. However, baby teeth may erupt late in case of some babies, after they are 18 months old. Baby teeth are like a foundation for permanent teeth, which is why it is very important to take good care of baby teeth. Your child will be able to chew his food properly and speak smoothly if he has a healthy set of baby teeth.
Caring for baby teeth should not begin once first tooth begins to erupt. Instead, it should begin prior to that. Taking proper care of gums is equally important. Here are a few tips that will certainly help you take good care of your baby’s teeth.
The process of tooth eruption from the gums is called as ‘teething’. Teething is associated with tenderness and irritability of gums. Your baby could exhibit teething symptoms such as drooling, light fever and swelling of gums.
Babies get an urge to chew on things. They have a tendency to put anything they see into their mouth. Keep them away from tiny objects that can cause the baby to choke. Chewing on teething ring helps alleviate discomfort. Make sure the teething ring is sanitized.
Gently massage your baby’s gum with your finger. This helps ease the pain. Consult a pediatrician if the baby gets too irritable because of teething. He shall prescribe an appropriate pain-reliever. Do not ever give aspirin to your baby. Aspirin is associated with Reye’s syndrome in kids.
- Gum care
It would be really smart of you to get your baby accustomed to wiping his gums. This will make the routine of baby’s oral care much easier when the teeth begin to erupt. Babies are delicate and so are their gums. Make use of a damp piece of gauze for this purpose. Make sure the gauze is clean and soft. Wrap it around your index finger. Now, gently wipe your baby’s gums with it. Clean the tongue as well.
Do not use any toothpaste at this stage. Regular cleansing of gums after every feeding should suffice.
- When the teeth begin to erupt
You can continue to clean your baby’s teeth with a piece of gauze. If at all you wish to use a toothbrush, buy the one that is meant for infants. Buy a tooth brush with a small head, soft rounded bristles and a long handle. Nowadays, branded infant finger toothbrushes from ‘Mee Mee’ and ’Baby Boo’ are also available in the market as well as at online stores. You can mount this toothbrush on your finger and clean your baby’s teeth with ease. Infant finger toothbrushes are also dishwasher safe. So, you can sterilize the toothbrush without damaging it.
When your baby is one year old, you can begin using toothpaste to clean his teeth. Make sure that it is a non-fluoride toothpaste. Put a pea-sized quantity of toothpaste on the toothbrush. Rub it gently all over the teeth. Wash off. You should brush your baby’s teeth until he is capable of doing it himself. Close supervision is necessary until your baby is old enough to rinse and spit on his own.
- Visit the dentist
When your baby is one year old, take him to the dentist for a check-up. This will make sure everything is on a right course. It will also relieve your anxiety about your baby’s dental care. The dentist can advise you on your baby’s tooth care, preventing tooth decay, problems associated with teething, and when to use fluoridated toothpaste, etc.
- Preventing tooth-decay
It is imperative that your baby feeds only on breast milk for the first six months of age. After 6 months of age, your baby may have cooled boiled water and formula. Avoid giving sugar-laced fizzy drinks and fruit juices to your baby. Sugar and acids in these drinks cause damage to the enamel of your baby’s teeth. It also causes cavities.
Prevent your baby to drink from feeding-bottles as he turns 1. Use special drinking cups meant for babies, instead. When your baby begins to eat, encourage him to have vegetables and other healthy foods. Follow a healthy oral routine to ensure healthy baby teeth.