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Importance Of Oral Hygiene In Infants

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Parenting is not just loving your baby rather it's all about nurturing a small being into a healthy person, mentally and physically. When we talk about physical health, oral health is equally important. In this blog I will share my knowledge regarding the importance of good Dental care and how we really can achieve the same...with all you lovely mommies.

Good oral hygiene is the key to a healthy body. Therefore it is very important to take really good care of oral health and hygiene from birth. Exercising good oral hygiene practices from this early stage can prevent or reduce any future tooth decay and gum disease or oral infection etc.

The baby teeth develop while the baby is still in the womb; during the pregnancy phase only. And the baby is born with twenty unerupted teeth hidden in their dental socket. This starts erupting normally between six to ten months. But in some babies, teeth eruption starts during three or four months while in some it doesn't show any sign of eruption even at twelve months. Sometimes, in a few babies, they are born with one or two grain of rice size teeth in their mouth. All these conditions are normal.

So let's start understanding that how can we start hygiene oral health habits to prevent any future problems:

Earliest stage- from birth to six months

  • Clean baby's gums thoroughly with a soft cloth

This should be practiced after feeding the baby so that no milk residue is left over the gums to cause various oral problems. It should be done at least twice a day to get rid of bacteria in their mouth.

How this can be performed- simply cradle your baby and wrap a moistened soft and clean cloth over your index finger and gently massage the gums of the baby. Do not put much pressure, this can harm the baby's gum.

  • Make a habit of never putting your baby to sleep with a bottle in his/ her mouth

 This extremely followed practice of putting a baby to Bed with a bottle has debilitating effects on the baby's overall oral health and leads to baby bottle tooth decay . It can increase the chances of bacterial growth and their activity, the small amount of milk will accumulate around the teeth and the bacterial action will lead to the formation of rapid, severe dental caries (nursing bottle caries).

Also, prolonged practice of this habit can hamper the shape of dentition. Sometimes it can lead to choking as well.

  • Tackle the teething like a pro

 Usually, during four to six months of age, babies enter the stage of teething. The following can be the signs of teething-

  • Gums can be red and swollen
  • Gum soreness
  • Drooling saliva
  • Increased crankiness in the baby
  • These symptoms can be accompanied by some stomach upset or infection and fever (this is because as a baby is experiencing pain and soreness in the gums they put anything in their mouth to chew which relieves the pain, but at the same time it can cause stomach infection and fever also).

Therefore, to alleviate these symptoms you can give them biting rings or teethers, but they should always be cleaned to avoid any infection. Cold temperatures are relieving and soothing, so you can put the rings or teethers in the refrigerator for some time before giving them to the baby.

  • Never share the baby's pacifier or bottle

Don't put the baby's pacifier or bottle nipple in your mouth or in another baby's mouth to avoid transmissible disease.

Later stage- From six months to one year of age

From the age of six to eight months, your little angel will get his/her first primary tooth. So practicing good oral care habits from this tender age will help to prevent any future dental decay problems.

So what can be done...

  • Massage the baby's gums gently as discussed earlier

And as the first tooth comes, either you can start using a soft bristle silicon toothbrush but without toothpaste, or can continue using a clean and soft cloth to wipe the tooth and massage the gums.

  • Now the teething can be more frequent

 keep this in mind and observe the baby's oral cavity or mouth to check for any new tooth eruption. Also, check for any white or brown spots -white spots in the mouth and over the tooth. To relieve the teething follow all the instructions given above.

  • Weaning phase

 Weaning is done at this age, so be prepared for this very important process. You can start weaning with a small quantity of soft food. Don't forget to clean the tooth and gums of the baby periodically. As now the baby has started taking solid food also, bacterial accumulation can be higher if not cleaned thoroughly.

  • Control the sugary food  

 Promote healthy food habits. Try to avoid giving sugary food or sugary drinks to the baby. For healthy gums and Healthy teeth, keep the sugary food portion as minimum as possible.

  • keep a check on what the baby is putting in his/ her mouth

 During this stage, the baby puts anything in his/ her mouth, which can cause oral or stomach infections. To manage this, clean all their toys periodically and keep the dangerous things away from their reach.

  • have some idea regarding the teeth eruption sequence 

You can ask your dentist or have some research to know about the correct sequence of tooth eruption. However, the sequence can be changed sometimes, but if you have the basic idea you can manage, if there is any deviation from normal.

  • Plan the baby's first dental visit

Within the six months from the appearance of the first tooth or at the first birthday, you should plan the baby's first visit to the dentist. So that a thorough examination of the baby's mouth can be done.

The expert will advise you regarding all the required steps to keep good oral health care. How to brush teeth, what kind of toothbrush should be used, the correct kids toothpaste...you can get all the necessary information from your dentist. The dentist will check if the oral health is fine or not if there is any initiation of dental caries etc. and will advise you accordingly also don't forget to take regular visits.

Also during this visit, you can get a basic idea of the correct sequence of the tooth eruption. Then periodic follow-ups will help your little being to have good oral health and hygiene.

Concluding points

Having good oral health is not a difficult task, we can achieve healthy smile and healthy permanent teeth easily by really good dental habits for our baby's gums and teeth from the beginning. Following good oral habits and the dentist's dental health advice, we can save our baby's teeth and gums from any risk of tooth decay ,tooth pain or dental treatment .

Click here to get Babies grooming kit

Let's meet in my next blog, till then keep learning...

Happy parenting🙂

 

Dr. Varun Prabha is a dentist and has experience and various qualifications in the healthcare sector. Apart from this, she is a blogger, author, and YouTube host. She loves sharing her parenthood experiences with other mommies.

 

 

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.

4 comments

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  • Posted on by Dr. Varun Prabha Gupta
    Thank you so much 🙂
  • Posted on by Shraddha

    Great, very well written..

  • Posted on by Dr. Manish Kumar Nigam
    Nice article, very informative.

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