Oral health guide for your growing baby
Primary teeth give shape to your child’s face and help to develop permanent teeth into the right position. These are essential for learning to eat and speak. It’s important to care for them well.
Primary teeth have a shallower outer enamel ( Enamel is the hard, outer layer of the tooth) than permanent teeth. This puts them at risk for early childhood cavity, which can occur even before the first tooth appears. The cavity is caused by acids produced by bacteria. It happens more easily if teeth keep coming into contact with sugary liquids—such as formula, milk, juice, and even breast milk (which contains sugar)—and are not washed regularly.
Early childhood tooth decay can affect your child’s health and put them into pain, making it difficult for your child to sleep, eat or speak. It can also affect your child’s ability to concentrate and learn. Children who had dental decay at an early age are more likely to suffer throughout childhood time.
Tips for strong oral health from birth to 6 months:
- Clean your baby’s gums with a soft, clean, damp cloth twice a day.
- As soon as the first teeth appear, clean them at least once a day (usually at bedtime) with a soft bristle toothbrush specially designed for babies.
- Place your baby on a flat surface or with their head cradled in your lap to brush their teeth.
- Avoid leaving your baby in bed with a bottle.
After 6 months:
- Introduce a sippy cup.
- Avoid juice as it is unnecessary. If you are giving it, limit juice to no more than 125 mL (4 oz) per day. Better to give them in a cup rather than a bottle and only as part of a meal or snack.
- If a bottle is required at nap time, offer water rather than milk or juice.
Dr. Priyanka Shingore Dental Director of Sabka dentist says “If you breastfeed before naptime, be sure to clean your child’s teeth before they go to cradle and never add sugar to a soother”.
- Never add sugar to a soother.
- Don’t put a soother in your own mouth for any reason. Bacteria (including those which cause tooth decay), viruses and yeast infections can be transferred between you and your child this way.
- Newborns should see a dentist within 6 months of their first tooth coming out or by 12 months old.
From 1 to 2 years:
- Take your child for a first dental visit at 12 months.
- Clean your child’s teeth daily (using non-fluoridated toothpaste).
Dr. Rupali Gujar Dental Director of Sabka dentist says “Check for the signs of tooth decay once a month by yourself. Look for chalky-white or brownish spots on the teeth or along the gum line. If you see any, take your child to a dentist soon”.
- Switch to a regular cup for all kind of drinks between 12 and 15 months.
- Limit soother use to nap and bedtime.
From 3 to 4 years old:
- Teach your child “2 for 2 rules” which means brushing twice a day for 2 minutes each time.
- Use fluoride toothpaste, the small amount of a green pea, and teach them to spit rather than swallow. Supervise your child while he/she is brushing teeth.
- Support your child to do some brushing with you completing the job, making sure that all tooth surfaces have been cleaned.
- If your child continues to suck his/her thumb as permanent teeth begin to appear, talk to your doctor or dentist.
For all ages:
- Clean your hands before and after brushing teeth.
- Rinse toothbrushes thoroughly after brushing and ensure that each one can dry without touching other toothbrushes.
- Replace toothbrushes every few months, when the bristles become flattened with use.
- Between meals, quench a child’s thirst with water. Do not offer candy, dried fruit (including raisins) and sugared drinks or juices.
- Take your child for regular dental visits (every 6 months, unless otherwise suggested by your dentist).
As the baby age grows you need to adopt the new methods for his/her oral care, and this should be continued till they can take care of their own.
Dr Reena Waghela is a leading dental surgeon having over twelve years of experience, with a special focus on advanced dental care. She is trained in Implant dentistry, Aesthetics and Full Mouth Rehabilitation. She picked up the finer nuances of Dental Practice Management while assisting leading dental surgeons during her time in the USA.
Dr Reena Waghela is passionate about bringing high quality, affordable dental care to India. She believes that Sabka dentist is the change agent for dentistry in India and has dedicated her services to Sabka dentist as a Dental Director-Operations for the past eight years. She also brings her invaluable vast exposure to her role on the board of Sabka dentist by helping the team collaborate on important decisions related to clinical dentistry.
Dr Reena realizes that learning continuously and keeping up to date in the field of dentistry is the only way to deliver quality patient treatment and care. She has been dedicated to bringing global patient care standards to her practice. Dr Reena is passionate about dentistry and enjoys all aspects of it. She has a special interest in cosmetic dentistry and working with nervous patients and children.
Dr Reena is a graduate of Maharashtra University of Health Sciences with a Bachelor’s in Dental Surgery.She is the member of Indian Dental Association. She is an avid reader and pursues yoga as a hobby in her free time. She has been an active member of the Sapling project, an initiative to make the city greener.