How to take care of your baby’s teeth
Healthy teeth are important for your baby’s overall health. They help your baby eat and form sounds and words. They also affect the way your baby’s jaw grows. Good oral care also helps establish good dental habits as the baby grows. A hygiene poor oral can lead to infection, illness, or other teeth problems.
The road to better health
In general, baby teeth begin to appear between 4 and 7 months of age, but each baby is different. The first teeth to come out are generally the 2 lower front teeth.
The process by which your baby gets milk teeth is called teething. When the baby starts to sneeze, you may notice that they are drooling more or want to bite things. For some babies, teething can be painless. For others, they can generate pain and make them irritable. Other symptoms of teething are loss of appetite and trouble sleeping.
These tips can help alleviate your baby’s discomfort.
- Give your baby a cold teething ring or a cold cloth to chew or suck on.
- Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger.
- Ask your doctor if your baby can take infant paracetamol (brand name: Tylenol). Do not give aspirin to your baby. Aspirin can cause Reye’s syndrome, a serious illness that can lead to death in children under 18 years of age.
- Ask your doctor before using gels or teething tablets.
Teething does not have to interfere with breastfeeding. You can continue to breastfeed your baby as usual once teething begins.
Start cleaning your baby’s teeth and gums with a damp cloth or gauze. Do this at least once a day or after meals. Once your baby’s teeth start to come out, clean the baby’s mouth at least twice a day. When your child is between 1 and 2 years old, switch to a soft toothbrush with water. Add a small amount of toothpaste without fluoride. This type of toothpaste is safe if your baby swallows it. Brush your baby’s teeth at least twice a day. You should also start flossing between the baby’s teeth.
Aspects to consider
Always hold your baby when you give him a bottle. Do not leave the bottle in the crib. Do not let your baby fall asleep with a bottle. Milk can accumulate in the baby’s mouth and cause tooth decay.
For the same reason, do not give your baby a glass of juice or milk in the crib. Your baby can start using a training cup at around 6 months of age. Stop giving your baby a bottle when he is 1 year old. Do not let your baby walk with a training cup unless you only have water in it.
Once your child is 1 year old, give him water or milk between meals instead of other drinks. Just give juice or flavored milk at meals. The juice and flavored milk contain a large amount of sugar.
You can give your baby a pacifier, but only when necessary. Try not to use a pacifier after 2 years of age. The same age applies for babies who suck their thumbs. Prolonged use of a pacifier or thumb sucking can cause problems with the alignment of the teeth. Talk with your doctor about what type of pacifier you should use. Always use a clean pacifier. Do not submerge it in honey or other substance that contains sugar.
When to see the doctor
Your baby should see a dentist for the first time around his or her first birthday. This is important if you are at high risk of tooth decay or other problems in your teeth. You can choose a dentist who specializes in children.