Our site is primarily about false teeth, dentures and dental implants, but we want to offer some information for younger children, and other broader dental issues over time to help more people… in an ongoing effort to bring more information that is helpful to our readers.
— from the editor.
As a mother, you may find it ridiculous to talk about dental hygiene for your baby, when your infant does not even have teeth. However, dental hygiene is also inclusive of the whole mouth and the tongue; not just the teeth.
As for toddlers that do have their first teeth, an emphasis must be placed on good brushing technique when brushing baby teeth as well as flossing, and one of the best ways to get them into good habits is to do it with them. Do not neglect brushing toddlers teeth under the assumption they will lose their first teeth and get others.
Here are basic guidelines from the moment your child is born.
Dental care in a baby without teeth
It is important to clean the inside of your baby’s mouth to avoid accumulation of bacteria, which may lead to sores in the mouth or other body complications. Clean the mouth by placing the infant on your lap and elevate their head such that it is at your chest level. Place a clean slightly wet cloth in the mouth and clean the surfaces of the gums. You can use warm water to wet the cloth. Repeat this procedure after every feeding session. At a minimum you should aim for at least twice a day.
What about brushing baby teeth?
Continue this until after they get their first teeth. Once they have their front and lower teeth use the cloth to clean the gums and the new teeth. You can get a soft kids toothbrush for your child after one year for brushing baby teeth. You should brush their teeth until they can brush on their own. Even then, supervise their brushing until they get to 10 years old.
Click here for more information on options for a kids toothbrush.
How to ease the pain of teething
Once the baby starts teething, they will experience discomfort and even some pain. To enable your baby to cope with these changes attempt to numb the teething area by using the following methods:
- Massage the affected gums gently using your finger
- Place a cold spoon on the gums or a cold wet cloth
- Get a teething ointment. You can buy this easily at any pharmacy or over the counter but get advice from your dentist first
- Purchase a teething ring. Place a chilled teething ring on the gums and let them bite on it. The ring should only be slightly chilled, never frozen.
Teaching a child how to use a kids toothbrush
After the teething stage and your child can grasp a toothbrush on their own, it is time to teach them how to brush their own teeth. Make it easier by brushing along with them instead of instructing them as children can be taught well be leading by example. Make up a song to go along with the process to make it an intimate and entertaining moment for everyone!
There are also some pretty cool electric toothbrushes for kids. One example is the Philips Sonicare for Kids Rechargeable Toothbrush which also has an app to teach kids how to brush their teeth and makes it an exciting adventure. It is reported to make brushing kids teeth much easier, and they brush better and longer than they would normally. Check it out here.
It may be a bit of a challenge teaching children to brush their teeth properly with their own kids toothbrush, and getting them into the habit of brushing twice daily, but you will be setting them up for good dental health for the rest of their lives, so the time and effort you spend will be well worth it.