|The future is now. The way children care for their bodies
today will have an impact on their health as adults.
Even before the first tooth appears, parents
should begin cleansing the mouth. Gently wipe the teeth,
gums, cheeks, hard palate, and tongue for the removal of
residual milk or food. Whether baby is fed by breast or
bottle, mother should wipe the gum pads and new teeth, under
the tongue and inside the cheeks, after every feeding with
a clean washcloth, cotton swab or cotton wool ball. Mothers
who breast feed on demand should do this frequently. This
way you not only bind bacteria but you also massage gently
the gums of your child. You can start doing this already
during the first month after delivery.
Placing a baby in bed with a bottle of milk or juice increases
the risk of Baby Bottle Syndrome. Rampant decay is the primary
characteristic found in Baby Bottle Syndrome. Examine the
teeth closely for decay. Consult your dentist or a pediatric
dentist about any concerns. If you must give any drink at
all when the baby is put to bed, a bottle of water is advised.
As soon as the first tooth appears, begin
using a tooth brush to clean the tooth after eating. Don't
cover the brush with toothpaste. Young children tend to
swallow most of the toothpaste, and swallowing too much
fluoridated toothpaste can cause permanent spots on their
teeth called dental fluorosis. Bristles should be soft and
rounded to prevent harming baby’s tender gums and
- It is not recommended
to use fluoridated toothpaste until the age of 18
months. An infant has a strong sucking reflex and
will only swallow the toothpaste. After 18 months
a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste can be applied
to a child's soft toothbrush.
- Flossing can be done when the
first and second molars erupt, between the ages of
12 and 24 months. The molars are usually the only
teeth that are in contact with one another. Many flossing
devices that can assist in performing this procedure
- Oral hygiene can be done once
a day until your child begins solids. At that time,
twice a day is recommended. Plaque will begin to form
as soon as the first tooth appears. Plaque is a thin
film of bacteria, which constantly forms on all teeth.
By brushing the teeth regularly the formation of caries
can be prevented.
Find brushing your child’s teeth awkward? Try having your child lie down. Put your child on your lap
or on the floor, keeping his/her head steady with your legs.
If your child is standing, have his/her back to you with
their head tilted slightly and resting against your body.
Have them hold a mirror while you brush and floss their
teeth so your child can see what is being done. At the beginning
the technique is not that important. It is more important
to get the child used to cleaning their teeth regularly
Baby teeth will begin to be replaced by permanent
teeth from around age six. It is very important to take
good care of these first teeth. Therefore, dental hygiene
right from the beginning is very important to keep your
child’s permanent teeth healthy. Young children do
not have the manual dexterity to brush properly. Your child
will need your supervision and help brushing until he or
she is 8-10 years old to ensure a thorough brushing has
Brush your child’s teeth at least twice a
day – in the morning and just before bed.
After lunch you should at least remove food leftovers from
the teeth and clean teeth after every sugary snack. If you
have to miss a brushing, the bedtime one is probably the
worst one to miss. If you don't get rid of the bacteria
and sugar that cause cavities, they have all night to do
harm. While you are awake, saliva helps keep the mouth clean.
When you are asleep, there is less saliva produced to clean
the mouth. For this reason it is important to brush before
A baby's first tooth is one milestone that should
lead to another - their first dental check-up. While most parents make baby's first visit to the paediatrician
priority, many do not realize how early a visit to the dentist
should take place. A child should typically see a dentist
some time between the first tooth erupting and their first
birthday. It's the ideal time to introduce the child to
the dentist and get them used to seeing him/her on a regular
basis. It is important because it gives the dentist and
hygienist a chance to see the teeth before decay sets in.
Surprisingly, if you wait until 2 or 3 years of age, there
may already be some decay.
In addition to vigilant home care, a child should get a
professional cleaning every 6 months along with their exam
and a fluoride treatment.
When it comes to taking a child for their first visit to
the dentist, how a parent handles the visit can make or
break how the child will view oral care throughout their
life. With the help of books, videos and a positive attitude,
a parent can set the foundation for future happy and healthy
visits to the dentist!
contact me for further information
Or visit our website www.mam-baby.co.za