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  • 9 August, 2022

Everything about your baby’s oral care

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Author:Dr Aparna Pandya (Mrs India Vivacious 2019)

Did your baby turn six months and is extremely cranky all the time? Are you worried and is feeling helpless? Are you frantically looking for ways to calm your irritant baby?

Worry no more, this article is going to be a life saver for you. Six months is an extremely critical age for an infant especially because this is the time when most of the babies start getting their teeth. Infant oral care is very crucial and has to be taken care of from the very beginning. It is highly recommended to have an initial visit when your baby gets his first teeth. It is an excellent idea to start the oral care practises as soon as you see his/her first teeth.

Step 1 would be to start cleaning your baby's gums soon after birth. A little bit of resistance is quite normal but the good news is, it soon will turn into a natural routine. Always remember that your infant needs to keep the mouth clean just like other parts of the body.

Here are few things you should be aware of as parents/guardians:

Teething: This is a natural process that starts at around 6 months. You will begin to see your infant's baby teeth emerge (erupt) in their mouth. The majority of children are very irritable or cranky and may experience restlessness or loss of appetite and sometimes even fever. There is no reason why you should panic or worry.

Although you do not see any teeth in the mouth of a newborn baby, they are already present in their mouths even before birth. Shocking??  Teeth begin to appear 3 to 9 months after birth. And by 3 years of age, most children have their full set of primary teeth.

Teething sequence: First the four incisors on both the lower and upper jaw appear. Then the first molars erupt, followed by canines (eye teeth), and lastly the second molars appear.

Some babies may experience some soreness or tenderness of gums when teething process begins. Here is what you should do, gently massage the gums with a clean finger. You can also use clean teething toys or rings for your child to chew works well too. Giving washed cold carrots to chew on, this helps a lot.

What happens if you are not careful?

Baby bottle tooth decay/Early childhood dental caries: This condition is the result of frequent exposure of sugars on the newly erupted teeth and is very damaging not only to the milk teeth but to the teeth which will erupt in the future, the permenant set of teeth.

So now you may be wondering what food causes it? Most common culprits include breast milk, formula, juices, and other sugary liquids which pool around the teeth for long periods of time when your baby sleeps. This leads to decay of teeth or commonly known as cavity formation.

It is very important to never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle in his or her mouth or to nurse to put him/her to sleep. If your baby wouldn’t fall asleep without sucking try using a bottle filled with water or a pacifier.

Pacifiers: During the initial years, sucking brings comfort even if the child is no longer dependant for nourishment from a breast or bottle. It is not damaging until the habit continues even after the milk teeth fall out.

Here are 4 things to keep in mind when you buy a pacifier:

  1. It should be one piece rather than the ones with several parts.
  2. It should be large enough to prevent accidental swallowing.
  3. It should be made of flexible and non-toxic material.
  4. It should be easy to grasp.

(Avoid dipping the pacifier in honey or any other sweet substance before giving it to your baby.)

4 Tips to clean your baby's mouth:

  • Make your baby lay on your lap such that the head should be close to your chest. This will help in seeing directly into your child's mouth.
  • Ensure that you clean the gums and the teeth well by wiping with a clean, damp, wash cloth along the baby's upper and lower gums.
  • Practise these steps twice a day — before breakfast and  after the last feeding of the day.
  • Immediately after the first teeth erupts, start brushing the teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water. You can start using toothpaste after the child reaches age two under your supervision to avoid swallowing of toothpaste.

 

Categories:
Pediatric Dentistry
Tags :
teething milk teeth teeth eruption
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