Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Taking Good Care of Baby's Teeth

I recently blogged about Tri finally having interest in brushing his own teeth. But, it was never a smooth sailing journey to get him to do it.

The moment I saw the very first pearly white on his lower gum (about 7 months old), I've been the clean-freak mother (AGAIN!). I've started using the baby gum massager to brush his gums and his single tooth. He doesn't like it though. I remember he kept on sticking out his tongue! End up using the old fashion way--cleaning his mouth with a clean cloth damped in mineral water.

Here are some tips I'd like to share for a successful teeth cleaning:

1.) Start cleaning your baby's mouth even before a tooth starts to appear.

Baby's mouth should always be cleaned. Once a day would do, specially if he's too little for the cleaning. You may use the end of a clean cotton cloth damped in mineral water (why mineral water? for safety purposes--to avoid diarrhea or gastrointestinal diseases). Wipe the tongue to get rid of the white cheese-like color you see. Cleaning the tongue can also help in maintaining a pleasant sweet odor a baby's mouth should have.

2.) Once you see a tooth erupting, clean it! 

I've read an article from this site . It says it is wrong to think that since it's baby teeth, it's all gonna be replaced by the permanent ones, so it's okay if it's not cleaned all the time. The milk teeth serve as guide in lining up the permanent teeth. They will fall out eventually, yes--but not brushing regularly may increase the chance of your baby getting cavities or tooth decay which will result for them to fall out earlier than it should be.

3.) Watch the sugar intake. 

Babies that are formula fed, like Tri, should not be given milk to put them to sleep and leaving it for a long period of time (specially if they seem to be not feding anymore). The sugar content on the formula milk is the major cause of cavities on children today. If this is unavoidable, change the ratio of the milk and water (ex. 4 scoops : 8oz water, make it 3 scoops : 8oz water).

4.) Water.

Let your baby drink water every after meal. Water can easily wash off infant meals on your baby's teeth. But water alone cannot clean all the dirt, so start introducing toothbrush (1st step brush, one with the soft bristle).

5.) Baby toothpaste.

Baby tooth gel/toothpaste are widely available through local stores (Mercury Drugs, Watsons) and baby sections on department stores. Go for the brand Sansfluo. It is a non-fluoride tooth gel, safe to use for children 3 and below, even if swallowed. Since children around this age are still unable to rinse their mouth, it is still not advisable to use fluoride toothpaste. Studies have shown that fluoride intake on children at this age can cause spots on their teeth.

6.) Regular checkups.

A professional help is still the best option to achieve a nice set of baby teeth. It is recommended that parents bring their babies as soon as the you see the first tooth or not later than a year old. Expect a little of tantrums and a bit of embarrassment, but hey--what the heck!

I still have a year or two to chase Tri around the house and force help him to clean his teeth. A little messy, a little exhausting, but all the hard work will pay off.

Happy Brushing!