Good oral hygiene is not only about clean teeth and fresh breath. It is the way to maintain good overall health and your child’s precious smile. Although the average age of the baby when the teeth appear is 6 months, the oral hygiene should be maintained right from the birth. After all, we have only two sets of teeth for the entire lifetime and safeguarding it is upon us. So, here is an age-wise guide to guard the beautiful smile of your baby and take care of his oral health.
Age Group: 0 to 6 months
Age group 0 to 6 months is the time to put on a strong base and start teaching your child about teeth and dental (oral) health. Practising healthy oral habits could prevent tooth decay and unnecessary oral trouble in the future. Here are a few things you could do to maintain oral hygiene of your child.
Clean your infant’s gum: Have the habit of wiping your baby’s gum after feeding the morning meal and before bedtime. Cradle the baby in one arm and with a clean moistened washcloth wrapped around the index finger of your other arm, gently massage the gums of your baby. You can also use finger brush instead of a washcloth.
Don’t let your baby go to bed with a bottle or prop in the mouth.
Dental cavities are an infectious transmissible disease. So, it is advised not to check the temperature of the bottle by keeping it in your mouth or clean pacifier or nipple by putting it in your mouth.
Find a pediatric dentist or a family dentist who is comfortable to deal with the babies. Your baby should visit the dentist before his first birthday or within six months after his first tooth emerges.
Age Group: 6 to 12 months
By the age of 12 months, your baby will have at least a couple of teeth or perhaps as many as eight teeth. The usual order of teeth development in infants is lower central incisors, upper central incisors and lower lateral incisors. The area of concern during this age period is teething and dealing with tight teeth.Tight teeth are the one where there is no space in between and needs flossing. Here are a few tips to maintain good oral health and to deal with tight teeth and teething pain.
For teething pain, offer your child a clean chilled teething ring or cold wet washcloth. Cold temperature soothes the teething pain. You could also gently massage the gums with a washcloth. A dose of infant pain reliever could also be of help.
Clean your infant’s gums using a soft-bristled toothbrush without toothpaste.
Start weaning off your baby from the bottle. Offer him more solid foods and offer drinks in the cup.
Limit the consumption of the sweetened beverages and foods.
Learn more about the normal appearance of your baby’s gums and teeth. Keep checking for abnormalities, such as white or brown spots on your baby’s teeth, regularly.
Age Group: 12 to 18 month
By the age of 15 months, the babies usually have teeth. But in case, your little one has not got any tooth, consult your child’s paediatrician. He will check the gums and feel the teeth below the surface of gums. In any case, it is necessary to maintain the oral hygiene. Here are a few tips.
Teach your child to clean his teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush without toothpaste or with a fluoride-free toddler brand toothpaste. You do a bit of brushing and let him do some.
Put a practice of brushing the teeth twice a day.
Watch out for white or brown spots on your child’s teeth. If you find any, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately. It might indicate tooth decay or cavities.