It’s always shocking just how early babies cut their first tooth. One minute they’re tiny babes in arms, and the next they’ve got a good set of gnashers on them and are ready to start exploring solid foods. Whether your child is all gum, has a single tooth, or proudly shows off a complete set of baby teeth, it’s never too early for good oral hygiene – after all, many online authorities offering parenting tips on child development or physical health support an early start with good habits, whether it’s exercise or something as simple as brushing their new teeth. Check out these easy parenting tips for keeping your baby’s teeth looking strong, clean, and healthy!
As a parent, weaning is a very exciting time: it’s such a thrill to see your baby start to experiment with purees and solid finger foods. But this is also a great time to really think about oral hygiene, and how you can reduce the risk of decay. One of the best things you can do for your baby’s oral health is give them healthy foods that won’t damage their teeth.
Many of us think that fruit is better than things like biscuits, and it is, but be careful not to give your baby too much of a good thing. Fruit is filled with sugar, with dried fruits like raisins particularly problematic as they’re quite sticky and can attach to the teeth, allowing the sugars to eat away at the enamel. Try combining fruit with vegetables in sweet and savoury purees, and alternating between fruit and other snacks, like rice cakes, for a treat.
Be Careful With Bottles
Believe it or not, many dentists state that the overuse of bottles can be more harmful to a baby’s teeth than sugary juices and poor weaning choices. You don’t need to worry about this if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, but if you give milk from a bottle be aware of how long your baby is feeding for, and always adapt the bottle as your baby grows.
Bottles with interchangeable teats are excellent choices for your baby, as they allow you to upgrade the teat as your baby gets bigger. Teats intended for newborns can potentially damage the teeth of a 6 month old, for example, by limiting the flow too severely. This will cause your baby to suck harder and perhaps bite the teat to try to get more milk.
Be sure to never give your baby anything other than milk from a bottle. Some parents give a little bit of juice as a treat, but taking juice from a bottle can encourage tooth decay. The angle of the bottle means that juice is directed straight to the teeth, and the sugars can begin to rot the teeth quite quickly.
Your baby can barely even hold its own head up, never mind operate a toothbrush, so how, and when, should you start getting your child into the habit of teeth brushing? Although it may seem early, you should begin the routine of brushing the teeth as soon as your baby cuts his or her first tooth – basically, as soon as there’s something there to brush.
You might have heard that fluoride – a common ingredient in toothpaste – can be harmful to children, but it’s better to opt for low fluoride toothpaste rather than a fluoride-free one. The Indian Dental Association reports that fluoride can reduce decay by up to 40 percent, so it’s a very important ingredient. When you start brushing your baby’s teeth (or tooth!), don’t be too vigorous. At this stage, simply getting toothpaste onto the teeth is enough to protect against decay.
Build a Routine
As you may have discovered, everything is tricky before you’ve properly established a good routine. Your baby may not be too keen on you trying to brush their teeth at first, but rest assured that – like feedings, bedtimes, and nappy changes – once they become used to the routine, they’ll soon accept it as an everyday part of life. As your baby gets older, they’ll love using the toothbrush themselves and cleaning their own teeth!