Now that your baby is ready to eat Cheerios and other solid foods, it’s time to start keeping those precious pearly whites healthy. Healthy teeth are essential to ensure your little one’s overall health. Moreover, strong and healthy teeth will help her in chewing food and in forming words and sounds while speaking. It also affects how her jaw grows.
Brushing your baby’s teeth twice or thrice a day as soon as you notice a tooth coming out is one thing. But to make sure your baby get the best care for her teeth, it takes more than just cleaning them.
Here are 5 tips to keeping baby teeth healthy:
1. Feed your baby with foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
Make sure your little one gets an adequate intake of fluoride, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C to help your baby get the right building blocks for teeth construction and achieve healthy gums.
Cheese is a good choice of food to serve up as it has high calcium content and encourages production of saliva. You may find it messy but more drooling is actually better for the baby as saliva helps wash cavity-causing acids and sugars away from the mouth. Having said that, it goes without saying that as much as possible, completely avoid sugar or keep sweets to a minimum level.
That could also mean serving your baby sweets no more than once a day and reducing sugary juice intake. Only offer your little one juice in a watered-down form. Soda is absolutely bad for your baby. Other good foods to serve up your little one are yogurt, fruits, and vegetables.
Foods to avoid meanwhile are peanut butter, jelly, bread, crackers, pretzels, and pasta. These foods should only be served during meals and not as snacks to avoid them not to sit on the teeth too long. It would also help to serve them with water.
2. Give your baby separate spoon and cup for his own use only.
Sugary snacks are not just to be blamed for cavities in babies. A certain type of bacteria called ’streptococcus mutants’ that thrives in the mouth and spreads easily from one person to another via saliva is actually the main culprit.
It feeds on food debris inside the mouth and produces acids that can break down calcium in the teeth and results into a tooth decay. To put it another way, you are more likely to pass along a cavity-causing bacteria to your baby by simply sharing your spoon or cup to her, especially when you didn’t brush your teeth or didn’t even floss.
3. Teach your baby to drink from a cup instead of a bottle.
Introducing a cup to your baby could be a little challenge as she’s used to drinking from a bottle. But bottles and sippy cups are actually associated with tooth decay since they allow liquid pooling inside the mouth of your little cutie.
You may start by using a sippy cup with a straw as soon as those pearly whites come out. For the same reason, you should be avoiding your baby to go to sleep with a bottle. Yes, your baby may snooze easily with the bottle inside her mouth but you would not want the way it could destroy your baby’s newly minted teeth. Would you? It is often recommended to only give your babies bottle during meal times or only fill it with water.
Formula milk, juice or sweetened liquid promote cavities. Moreover, you may stop giving babies bottles when they turn 1 year old. Moreover, it is advisable also not to let babies walk around with a bottle or a sippy cup unless it has only water in it.
4. Check with your pediatrician for the right toothpaste for your baby.
While the American Dental Association has already approved the use of fluoride toothpaste as soon as babies get their first teeth, it is still important to consult your pediatrician.
It is important to make sure that babies only need the tiniest amount of fluoride until they are old enough to rinse and spit the toothpaste out. Moreover, a fluoride supplement is often recommended once the child is already older than three. Just make sure your local water supply is not fluoridated.
Remember to only give your baby appropriate amount of fluoride as too much or too little of it could be both damaging to your baby’s emerging teeth. Too much fluoride can cause a certain condition called fluorosis characterized by white spots, mottling of the teeth and pitting in more severe cases.
The recommended amount of fluoride for babies under 3 years old is not greater than a rice-sized smear or should be .25 milligrams per day. If you think your baby is not getting enough fluoride, you may ask your doctor to prescribe you fluoride in a drop form that can be added to your baby’s cereal once a day. A fluoride supplement is not advisable for babies under 6 months old. Be wary too that some bottled water and fruit juices may have fluoride content that is not always indicated on the label.
Doctors would recommend fluoride varnish once every 3 to 6 months, depending on your baby’s risk of acquiring cavities. Factors being considered include mother’s poor dental health while pregnant and a family history of cavities.
5. Use the right toothbrush.
So you’ve been to your little cutie’s doctor to ask for the right toothpaste for her, then might as well ask how to choose toothbrush for babies too. She could give you an expert’s recommendations for a toothbrush that has undergone thorough quality control. Again, the task isn’t simple as there are a lot of factors to consider.
First up, you need to determine the appropriate size. Always check the packaging for age guideline. Secondly, only choose a soft-bristled one unless your baby’s dentist has instructed you otherwise. As soon as you notice the bristles to look worn, replace the toothbrush immediately.
It also helps that before your baby starts teething, a regular cleaning of her mouth as part of his daily routine would make it easier to shift into toothbrushing later on. Hence, it is recommended that before the baby turns four months, you may start to get into the habit of wiping the inside of her mouth with a soft wet washcloth or gauze wrapped around your index finger during bath time. A toothpaste during this time is not yet recommended.
About the Author
I am Lily Hayes, a writer and teacher by profession who firmly believes that motherhood is the fulfilling experience we can ever have in this world and founder of TheBabyLands.com. I have spent years being an expert in what I do. I love my job immensely because I love to share and create things that will have a big impact on people. In fact, I have already written various e-books about self-development and parenting. Follow me on Twitter @TheBabyLandsCom