We are familiar with the pain caused by dental disorders and toothaches and we surely don’t want our little ones to undergo such nerve-wrecking pain. Oral care should be introduced the moment you see a tooth popping out of the gums. It is called a milk tooth which gets replaced by permanent teeth later during schooling. The milk teeth form a permanent placement for the permanent teeth and hence oral care should be introduced as early as possible. Teeth decay can make infant ill accompanied with loss of appetite. Before knowing the oral care essentials for infant, let us understand few things to take care of.
Clean her teeth twice in a day: The first round should be after breakfast in the morning and second session should be post dinner. Night time should not be missed on any day as the bacteria tend to grow during night. The chances of tooth decay increases manifolds if she sleeps without cleaning her teeth.
Clean the gums: While brushing her teeth, it’s advised to clean her gums. But don’t use a toothbrush for this. You can use your finger or a soft wet cloth or a finger brush made out of rubber or silicone. This combats the bacterial growth that causes tooth decay.
Must Have Oral Care Essentials for Infant and Toddler:
Use a toothbrush that has very soft bristles and easy to hold by babies. It should be medically approved and should not have more than 3 rows of bristles. There are different types of toothbrushes for different ages. Buy a toothbrush as per the baby’s age.
For six months old, use a finger brush made of rubber or silicone and which is BPA free. This will take care of her gums and the first set of milk teeth. It will also relax her during teething.
Training brush comes next. They can be used when the infant has 2-3 milk teeth. The handles should be round and thick for better grasping, small rubber head with very soft bristles that soothes the gums and cleans the teeth.
Regular brush can be introduced once infant has all milk teeth. The handle should be longer for better grip and the edges of the head shouldn’t be hard.
Like toothbrush, toothpaste are also available specifically for infant and toddler. So don’t use regular toothpaste to brush infant’s teeth.
If you use toothpaste before she has teeth; for cleaning her mouth and gums, use a fluoride free and SLS free toothpaste. Such toothpaste when swallowed (which will anyways happen) won’t harm her in any way.
As soon as you see the first tooth popping out, switch to toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride strengthens the teeth, prevents cavities and tooth decay. But hold on, the quantity of paste should be smaller than a pea size until she is 2 years old followed by the size of a pea after 2 years.
Avoid buying toothbrush cover. When you put a toothbrush in a case, the wet bristles create an environment for bacteria to grow. The bristles don’t dry and remain moist until next use. Best is to allow the brush to dry on its own. Keep the brush in upright position to let the water go down the bristles. You can also keep the brush in the sun for faster drying. Use a toothbrush cover only when you plan to travel but make sure that the brush is completely dry.
Not an essential part of oral care, but definitely a need during teething. A teether should either be water filled or silicone made. The sole purpose is to calm and sooth baby’s gums. It should be easy to clean and hold and should be 100% safe. Refrigerate the teether first for a cooling effect on sore gums. Sterilize the teether daily instead of washing it with water and soap.
After every feeding session, give her some water. We offer water after the infant finishes eating solids or external liquids. But water should also be given post every feeding session. This will rinse off milk in her mouth. This is a precautionary step under oral care.
These oral care essentials will develop a good dental care journey for life. Let’s gift her beautiful smile with that perfect set of glowing teeth.