Dental care for the new born babies

Many mothers mistakenly avoid taking their babies to the dentist. In fact, it is best to develop a good rapport between your baby and your dentist right from the early stages. In case of new-borns, you can first discuss your dentist, but you could take your baby to your own routine check-ups. This can help the baby get used to the surroundings. Often, the baby's own check-ups can start any time from about 6 months, or from when the teeth start to appear.

Your baby should start teething at around 6 months old and will continue until all 20 baby teeth come through, which is usually by 3 years. This is their first set of teeth or milk teeth. At around 6 years old, the adult teeth will begin to appear. This will continue until all the adult teeth, except the wisdom teeth, have come through at around 14 years old.

Yes. Often, most children do suffer some teething pains. This can make your child cranky, and sometimes, your baby may have a high temperature when they are teething and their cheeks may look red and be warm to the touch. You can help ease this discomfort to an extent. Teething rings can help. Certain teething rings can be cooled in the fridge, which may help. But, as teething pains can vary, it is best to check with your doctor. In case of severe pain, there are special teething gels that you can use to help reduce the pain. There are some that contain a mild analgesic (painkiller). You can apply the gel using your finger, and gently massage it onto your baby's gums. Never use these gels unless it has been prescribed by your physician/ dentist.

It is advised that you can start cleaning your baby’s mouth after feeding as early as few weeks old. It is recommended to clean your baby’s gums, using a cloth and water after feeding, to maintain a good oral hygiene. Even a mild finger cleaning can help maintain a clean mouth. Brushing however, are started in babies with newly erupted teeth.

As soon as the first baby teeth start to appear you should start to clean them. Initially, you may find it easier to use a piece of clean gauze or cloth wrapped around your forefinger. As more teeth appear, you will need to use a baby toothbrush. There are simple finger brushes which you can place on your finger and easily brush your baby’s teeth. Use a pea-sized smear of kid’s toothpaste and gently massage it around the teeth and gums.It can be easier to clean their teeth if you cradle your baby's head in your arms in front of you.

As your child gets older it may be difficult for you to do it this way, and then you can gradually give your child more responsibility for cleaning their teeth. Brushing twice a day is must. Initially, start out with one time brushing done by child with a parental supervision and one time by the adult alone. It is important to clean teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day.

Breast milk is the best food for babies, and it is recommended that you just give your baby breast milk during the first six months of its life. There needs to be more research to see whether, in some cases, the natural sugars in breast milk cause tooth decay in babies. However, it is widely accepted that breast milk is the best food for your baby. If you keep your baby's teeth clean, tooth decay is unlikely to be a problem. Go through the techniques to maintain oral hygiene in babies in this section.

Most often, breast feeding is stopped by 6 months old, but a baby is fed with bottled milk for a longer time. When feeding with a bottle, you must sterilize the bottle properly. Feeding your baby with any other substitute to mother’s milk can have an effect on their teeth unless good oral hygiene is followed. This is because, most substitute milk / cow’s milk contains higher levels of sugar. Alteration of feeding habits also help. Try to allow an hour between the feed and cleaning your baby's teeth. Never add sugar or put sugary drinks into the bottle. Milk and water are the best drinks for teeth. Bottle feeding with drinks containing sugar can lead to ‘bottle caries’. Avoid night feeding of sweetened milk. Encourage feeding water after milk to help cleanse the mouth.

If you can, avoid using a soother or pacifier and discourage thumb sucking. Pacifier can increase the muscle activity and these can eventually cause problems with how the teeth grow and develop. And this may need treatment with a brace when the child gets older. If your baby needs a soother or pacifier, there are ‘orthodontic' ones that reduce the risk of these problems. Never dip your baby's dummy, soother, pacifier or teething ring into fruit syrups, honey, fruit juices or anything containing sugars, particularly at bedtime. The harmful sugars and acids can attack your baby's newly formed teeth and cause decay.

Last updated on 20 November, 2018.

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