Oral Care for Babies
The American Dental Association recommends that parents clean their baby's mouth twice a day, even if the child does not yet have any teeth. Regular cleaning helps to prevent the growth of bacteria, which can attack teeth once they develop. You can use a toothwipe or a soft finger toothbrush to gently clean your child's gums and mouth.
How to Clean Baby Teeth
When your child's first teeth start to poke through the gums, dentists emphasize the importance of continuing your cleaning routine to prevent decay. Your child might experience some discomfort during this difficult phase, which is often known as teething
. Gently massaging your child's gums with a baby gum massager can help to relieve the soreness as the infant's first set of teeth work their way through the gums. You can also buy gels and dissolvable tablets that may ease the pain of teething for your child. Although some parents may use teething medications, there are questions about how safe and effective many of these products are. Be sure to talk to your child’s doctor about which types of products are safe and how often they can be used.
What Is Bottle Mouth?
According to the American Dental Association, infants are at risk of baby bottle tooth decay as soon as their first teeth poke through the gums. This condition (also known as bottle mouth) most often affects the front teeth, which are exposed to sugars in milk and food when the baby feeds. The ADA recommends using a smear of children's toothpaste
and a soft baby toothbrush
to clean teeth thoroughly.
Using Tooth and Gum Cleansers
Tooth and gum cleansers are specially formulated to protect and strengthen babies' developing teeth. These products contain child-friendly ingredients that help to clean the mouth and keep levels of the bacteria that cause tooth decay in check. You should always check the recommended age range for any tooth or gum cleanser before using it in your child's mouth, as children's oral health needs evolve as they grow.
Toothwipes for Babies
Toothwipes are anti-bacterial wipes that are safe to use to clean your baby's mouth. Using these wipes can help to combat the bacteria that build up on children's teeth when they are exposed to sugars in formula, breast milk, or juice. Toothwipes provide a convenient way of keeping your child's mouth clean, even when you are on the go. You can use them to clean a baby's gums and other parts of the mouth, as well as their first teeth.
How Your Dentist Can Help
If you are unsure which product to use to clean your baby's mouth, be sure and ask your dentist for advice. The ADA recommends that all children see a dentist shortly after their first tooth emerges, and definitely before their first birthday. Regular dental health checkups, along with good dental hygiene routines at home, can help your child's teeth to remain strong and healthy as they grow up.
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