New to parenting? Here’s what to do about teeth

New to parenting? Here’s what to do about teeth

March 9, 2020 12:20 pm Published by

Having a new baby is a truly exciting time, with lots of new things to learn. In amongst the doctor’s appointments and play dates, it’s important to make sure dental care stays on your list. Here’s a quick guide on what to do and what not to do for your baby’s dental health.

  • Why does it matter?

Because baby teeth fall out, many people believe that looking after them doesn’t matter so much. However, to ensure that adult teeth develop in the right way, it’s very important that baby teeth aren’t lost early. Unusual gaps in the gums can lead to adult teeth growing in the wrong place or crooked, with orthodontic work being required later. There’s also the pain factor of having decayed teeth or gum disease. Better to look after baby teeth and avoid problems in the first place.

  • A dental routine

It’s never too early to start a good at-home dental routine. Brushing teeth can begin before baby teeth even start to show! Use a soft, damp cloth or a piece of gauze to gently wipe gums after baby has finished feeding. This will remove any milk residue, which can turn into harmful sugar in the mouth. Starting these hygiene habits now will make it easier to keep up proper tooth brushing later on.

  • Eating and drinking

Babies will be ready for solids aged around 4-6 months. When this happens, you’ll likely be trying all sorts of pureed foods to tempt them! Fruit and vegetables are great for this, but be careful about how much sugar baby might be consuming – fruit for example is natural sugars. It’s also a good idea to check products like yoghurt, cereal or pre-packaged baby food for added sugar. While your baby is still having milk, it’s best to keep bottles for mealtimes – don’t let your baby suck on a bottle for extended periods. This is to avoid contact between teeth and sugars, which can cause tooth decay and cavities – more commonly known as baby bottle decay. if your baby wants a bottle outside of mealtimes, make sure it’s filled with water.

  • When to start brushing

Once teeth start to show through around six months old, use a special baby toothbrush and a grain-sized amount of baby toothpaste to clean teeth twice a day. Make sure to brush all teeth, front and back. This can be a struggle with wriggling babies, and you might not get many brushed at first – but it’s worth persevering! The easiest position is putting baby on your knee, with their head against your chest. For older children, it’s best to supervise brushing until they’re around seven years old.

  • Teething

Teething can be a trying time for everyone! If your baby is uncomfortable, try rubbing gums with a damp, clean piece of gauze or your finger. A teething ring can help too, and you can put it in the fridge (not the freezer) beforehand to give it extra soothing power. If baby is over six months, you could try giving them apple or raw carrot to chew on also. Make sure you supervise them as food can be a choking hazard while they’re so small.

  • Visiting the dentist

The first visit to the pediatric dentist, such as at Drs. Nicolas & Asp, should take place before baby is one year old. Your dentist will check that teeth and gums are all in good condition, as well as give any care and diet advice. If your child has a dummy, the dentist will probably recommend you stop using it around this time, to avoid teeth positioning from being affected. They will also make sure your baby has enough fluoride, which helps make sure teeth are strong – even before they start to show through. Your dentist may recommend a supplement, as bottled water in Dubai doesn’t have it added as in other countries. Don’t buy a supplement without seeing your dentist, as too much can be harmful.

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