It’s never too early to start taking taking care of your baby’s teeth, and good dental care should start before that first little tooth arrives. But what should you be doing to look after them?
Here are our 5 top tips for looking after your little one’s teeth.
1. Wipe their gums
Before your baby’s teeth start to grow it is a good idea to wipe their gums after feeding, preferably with a warm, wet washcloth. This tackles the threat of gum disease and infections early on, and ensures that the gums are clean and healthy prior to the teeth growing in.
2. Don’t leave them with a bottle for extended periods
Once your baby’s teeth do start to show it’s important to take care of them straight away, as certain issues can begin from an early age such as teeth discolouration. To prevent this, make sure that the baby is not left with a bottle for too long because it can cause damage to the colour of their teeth.
3. Brush regularly with water to begin with
It goes without saying that one of the main ways of keeping teeth clean and healthy is through regular brushing. You can get your baby used to the feeling of a toothbrush before their teeth grow by softly massaging their gums with a soft-bristled baby toothbrush, so that when their teeth do start to show they will be used to the feeling.
At this stage you only need to brush them with water twice daily (unless your baby’s dentist recommends you to use toothpaste). The reason being that babies younger than the age of two are unable to spit fluoride toothpaste out.
To be certain of the right time to switch your child over to fluoride toothpaste, discuss your child’s dental care needs with your dentist.
4. Restrict sugary food and drinks
Sugar causes tooth decay, but it’s not just about the amount of sugar in sweet food and drinks, it’s also about how long and how often the teeth are in contact with sugar. Sugary drinks in a formula bottle result in teeth being coated in sugar for a long period of time and can be extremely damaging to your baby’s teeth.
The sugars found naturally in whole fruit and milk are less likely to cause tooth decay, so you don’t need to cut down on these types of sugars.
If you do choose to give your child sweet foods or drinks such as fruit juice, only give them at mealtimes, and remember to dilute one part juice to 10 parts water.
5. Take your baby to the dentist
Early trips to the dentist will create something of a routine for your baby, making it less of an ordeal in the future when they have dentist’s appointments! It’s also important to simply get their gums and growing teeth checked out at this stage, so that if there were any issues they would be caught early on.
By following the above you should be giving your baby the best chance possible for a beautiful set of healthy teeth and gums.