Dental hygiene for oral health is equally important for adults and infants alike. Even if the teeth of your child has not yet come out, you need to start a healthy oral routine. The teeth start to erupt in the mouth of your child from 3 to 6 months of age.
The primary teeth last only for a few years in the mouth of your infant. However, they play a vital role in the proper growth of your child, including learning essential social skills. Primary teeth aid in keeping the jaw of your child straight, maintaining the jawline and allowing enough space for the permanent teeth to grow in the future.
Just cleaning the teeth of your infant is not a guarantee that your child will not have cavities on their teeth. The feeding diet and how you feed you, child, also play a pivotal role in the health of your child’s teeth. The 6 tips in this article are effective for maintaining healthy oral health and hygiene of the infant.
6 Effective Tips For Infant Oral Health And Hygiene
1. Regularly Clean The Gums Or Teeth Of Your Child.
Maintaining a healthy dental hygiene routine will aid in preventing the growth of bacteria in the mouth of the infant. The first step to positive oral care begins even before the first teeth of your child erupts from the gums and earlier commencement of dental hygiene is better for sustaining healthy teeth.
You can start appropriate dental hygiene practice even before the teeth start to come out of the gums. Gently rubbing the gums of the baby will make it easier for the teeth to grow. You may also wipe the gums of your baby gently with a moist gauze or washcloth.
Regularly cleaning the gums of your baby will ensure that you remove the presence of sugar and bacteria from the mouth of your child after feeding. You must not use toothpaste to clean the teeth of your infant until the teeth begin to come out.
Infant oral care helps in preventing the formation of oral cavities in the teeth of the infant in the future. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 42% of children from the age of two up to eleven have tooth decay. Oral health care and hygiene will aid in preventing dental problems from arising as the child grows.
2. Remove Bottle If Baby Sleeps While Feeding
There is a high probability for the baby to fall asleep while feeding with a bottle in their mouth. Having a bottle with food such as milk or other liquid will cause a long exposure of the mouth of the baby to the food particles.
The presence of liquid food in the mouth of the infant over a long period will cause plaque to build upon the teeth. Frequently sleeping with a bottle in the mouth can lead to tooth decay, otherwise known as baby bottle decay.
You can observe the signs of decay such as brown or black spots on the teeth of the infant or swollen gums. In case of any of the symptoms, you need to consult for infant oral treatment at the earliest. Ensure that you remove the bottle from their mouth once they stop feeding to prevent tooth decay.
3. Feed Enough Water
Water is the best drink to provide your child nourishment from thirst. The water is also excellent for maintaining the oral health of the infant as it helps to wash food particles from their teeth. Water also does not contain sugar on which the tooth decay-causing bacteria feed.
Parents often succumb to thinking that fruit juices are a healthier alternative to water for their child. On the contrary, manufacturers usually sweeten the fruit juice by adding additional sugar. Fruit juices inherently contain natural sugars from fruits, and the extra sugar becomes excessive for the child.
It is not advisable to feed your child any fruit juice until they are at least 12 months of age. Sugar can stick to the teeth of your child and create favorable conditions for bacteria to grow, which in turn creates cavities in teeth.
4. Feed Healthy Foods And Snacks
The diet of your child also plays a significant role in the health of their teeth. Babies generally make the transition to eating solid food at around six months of age. Hence, infants will be able to assimilate a broad range of foods.
Feeding healthy food like Mashed sweet potato, baby porridge, banana puree, etc. will further strengthen the gums and teeth of the child. Make healthy snack choices for your child by avoiding feeding them sticky or chewy food that may stick to their mouths.
5. Visiting The Dentist Early
The American Dental Association recommends having your child visit a pediatric dentist by the time your child turns one year of age. You can explain your concerns regarding the teeth of your child and also get some useful tips regarding the proper technique to brush their teeth.
Visiting the dentist early will also help in identifying any issues in the teeth of your child at an early stage and hence make timely corrections. A pediatric dentist will have access to equipment such as a portable x-ray machine that can effortlessly provide intraoral radiographs of your child.
6. Demonstrate Model Behaviour
Children naturally tend to imitate their parents and you can set the guidelines by showing the perfect behavior by example. Habituate oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing, along with your child at least twice a day.
Babies are rarely born with one or more teeth in their mouth known as natal teeth, and when babies have their teeth appear within one month of being born, it is known as neonatal teeth. The lower incisors emerge first, and the rest of the 20 primary teeth continue to grow until the age of three.
You can provide comfort to your baby while teething by giving them something to chew on, such as a clean pacifier or teething ring. Bacteria is transferable from a family member to the baby through mouth or saliva. Hence, you must avoid sharing any items that can cause the transfer of bacteria with the child.
If the primary teeth of your child have decay and need removal, it may cause the adjacent teeth to move, disrupting the natural positions of the teeth. It will reduce space for permanent teeth when it grows out in the future, causing uneven teeth.