Early Infancy Oral Care
Many parents and caregivers don’t consider caring for their young infant’s dental care until their first teeth form. Some don’t even consider dental care for the infant until they are toddlers are older. However early dental care sets the tone for good and healthy teeth and gums for life. Early dental care also helps to reduce the chance of corrective oral care and/or surgeries. Most don’t know that early infancy oral care also begins during pregnancy. While the woman is pregnant, her dietary intake greatly affects the developing gums and teeth buds. Her own personal dental care even affects the oral health of the developing fetus.
Once the baby is born, early oral care can start. After each feeding whether the baby is being nursed or bottle fed a simple technique can be used. The parents or caregiver can take a damp cloth and wrap it around the tip of their finger. Then they can take the wrapped fingertip and gently wipe the mouth and gums of the baby. A cloth gauze can also be used in place of a wash cloth. The parent and/or caregiver who is cleansing should not use any toothpaste. Water is sufficient at this stage to clean the mouth.
However, once the baby starts getting teeth, a baby toothbrush should be used. Baby toothbrushes are specifically designed for their tooth pattern. They are also gentle enough for a baby’s tender gums. A child friendly toothpaste is also best used along with the toothbrush. Once the baby is six months old, the first dental checkup should be scheduled. At this dental checkup, the dentist will assess the oral condition, as well as note any risk for oral disease.
The aforementioned along with a low sugar consumption diet, can help infants have a healthy dental record for years to come.
- Dan Canfield