Caring For Your Baby’s Teeth: 4 Important Things To Note

Mark Wealth

Whether your baby has started teething or not, it’s important that you take them to see the dentist on or before their first birthday.

Usually, babies’ teeth start to appear from around 6 months. Here are few tips you should note to help you take care of their pearly white teeth and give them the confidence to smile their way into a fulfilling social life.

1. Prepare the way…

Even before they start teething, you can clean their gums softly but firmly with a clean wet wash cloth, gauze or your finger. Clean and soft should be your watchwords as their gums are very tender at this stage. Wrap the cloth around your index finger and gently clean away harmful bacteria.

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2. Blessed are the pacifiers…

…for they shall soothe your baby’s aching gums. When babies start teething, it makes them irritable and chewing on something offers some relief. You could freeze their pacifiers and give the baby to chew. This way, you have solved two problems in one fell swoop; the cold pacifiers soothe their gums while they have something soft and healthy to chomp on. Some parents have devised other methods like crushed ice, frozen peas and even frozen breast milk in a feed bag for baby to chew on.

3. Fluoride or No Fluoride

While fluoride helps keep teeth enamel strong, it is important that you use toothpaste appropriate for babies 6-12 months old. Toothpastes containing fluoride might cause a dental condition called fluorosis – a condition where white spots appear on the teeth – when your baby is grown. Secondly, if swallowed in excess, fluoride can cause death in children between two and nine years of age.

Rinsing a baby’s mouth after washing might prove difficult. Therefore, using the appropriate toothpaste therefore rules out the need for rinsing. However, it is better to use toothpaste which does not contain fluoride.

READ ALSO: TEETHING IN BABIES: Common Symptoms & Remedies to Apply

4. Thou Shall Not…

Do not leave baby with a feeding bottle in her crib or to be precise, do not let her fall asleep with a feeding bottle. This is because formula, milk or juice contains a lot of sugar and if baby falls asleep with a bottle in her mouth, the milk (or juice) may pool thereby encouraging plaque and tooth decay. It is also most likely that you will not brush her mouth once she’s asleep.

In addition, do not encourage excessive use of feeding bottle. Allowing the child to suck on the bottle throughout the day might cause crooked or discolored teeth. These are symptoms of ‘bottle mouth’, a dental condition where the teeth enamel is eroded. Feeding bottles should be discouraged after one year. According to Bradley Bradford, spokesperson of the American Association of Pediatrics, “…by nine months, it (bottle feeding before bedtime) is not a necessity.”

Can It Be Too Late?

So, you didn’t know all this and now your child is being asked embarrassing questions in school, questions like, “Why are your teeth yellow?” “What are those called? Braces? You look funny!” Is there anything you can do about it at this stage? Well, of course. Take the child to a dentist who will help contain or remedy the situation with the best available options.

SEE ALSO:10 Reasons Your Baby Is Rejecting Your Breastmilk

For decaying or malformed teeth, the dentist could use stainless steel crown caps which contain tooth decay.  A good doctor will prescribe plastic braces which are less conspicuous than the metal types. Cavities can be filled with silver and topped with resins. According to kidshealth.org, resins bond to the tooth preventing the filling from popping out and also rebuilds damaged teeth.

In conclusion, schedule regular visits to the dentist with your child. Help them dazzle the world with perfect white teeth in a beautiful smile!

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