Oral Health Care for Infants

A Guide to Mouth Care for Babies

Even before your little bundle of joy has developed his first tooth, it is necessary to provide him with proper oral care and gum protection. Gently start with the cleaning of the gums and when the infant has developed his teeth, dental care is a must. Throat examination is also vital to check for soreness, redness and scratchy throats in babies.

Irrespective of the fact, that your baby has grown teeth or not, proper infant oral care is required. Soon after birth, his gum, tongue and soft palate, are properly developed and it is good to clean gums regularly to avoid gum issues. Once he starts developing little bunny teeth, proper and efficient baby dental care is also a major requirement. Keep checking his mouth to spot any bacterial growth and maintain a systematic oral hygiene routine.

Gum Care for Infants

  1. Even before the baby has popped his first tooth, it is a good idea to get into the habit of cleaning his gums regularly. There is nothing much to do and no use of toothpaste or any kind of product is required.
  1. Only a small cloth or gauze dipped in warm water can be used to slightly rub the gums and tongue of the baby. This process may become a little fussy initially, but once the infant gets used to it, it will become easier.
  1. Generally, the bacterium does not harm the mouth before the emergence of teeth, but parents should always be a step ahead and take precautions. Gum diseases such as Gingivitis and Periodontitis can be caused due to poor gum hygiene.

Teething in Babies

When the primary teeth begin appearing through the gums, the baby may feel pain and discomfort. This may lead to fussy behaviour and a grumpy baby. You can help him by gently massaging his gums with a finger or giving him something to chew on like a teething ring kept in the refrigerator. However, if your child has fever and shows any other signs of ailment, consult a doctor.

Tips for Baby’s Dental & Gum Care

The infant’s first teeth usually start to break through the gums after 6 months, and all the primary teeth come between the age of 6 months and three years. As soon as the initial tooth erupts, a soft baby toothbrush and gauze should be used to clean the mouth. Infant teeth should be brushed twice a day with water only or after every feed.

  • Brushing should be done inside and outside and on the tongue as well to dislodge the bacteria causing bad breath.
  • The brush should have very soft bristles to avoid causing the soft baby gums any harm.
  • The toothbrush should be replaced every 2 to 3 months.
  • After the baby is a year old, a little amount of fluoride toothpaste can be introduced. Just a smear of it on the brush is enough for the babies.

Once the infant is old enough to have any other liquid than milk, water is known to be the best option. Beverages with high sugar content can be a major cause of dental caries and tooth decay, so it is better to avoid them. Also, the baby should ideally start visiting the dentist after his first birthday.

Sucking Habits in Babies

Kids give up the habit of sucking on their own by the age of four to five. If they do so, the shape of their jaw is not affected, but if they continue, for example sucking on the thumb or a pacifier, it can cause problems like:

  • The top front teeth can slant out.
  • The bottom front teeth may tilt in.
  • The alignment of the jaws may be disrupted.
  • It may also cause the roof of the mouth to narrow from side to side.
  • It can introduce external bacteria in the mouth and cause infections.

In addition, your child’s sucking habit can be really embarrassing for you too, if it continues even as he gets older. Its best to keep a tab on the sucking habit of your child and distract him from doing it, before he gets too accustomed to it.

Sore Throat in Infants

When infants suffer from a cold, flu, measles, chicken pox and croup, they tend to develop a sore throat or a strep throat. It causes general discomfort, irritability, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, nausea, swollen neck glands, fever, pain in the tonsils and may also lead to a thick and bloody nasal discharge in severe cases. Parents should immediately take the infant to visit a physician.
Keep your baby’s oral health in check right from birth and avoid any teeth or gum related problems. The oral hygiene habits that you instill in him now are going to set him on a right path for his life.

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