Teething is an exciting milestone for your baby to reach. This represents a shift in diet, allowing your baby to begin exploring new foods. As a parent, you want to make sure that your baby is developing in a healthy way. Now is the time to begin fostering healthy habits and influencing the choices your baby is going to make in the future when they are the steward of their own health. These small steps can be powerful and impacting on your baby's oral health in the future. Here are three ways to care for your baby's new teeth.
Reduce bottle tooth decay by sticking to water in the bottle.
Baby bottle tooth decay is usually concentrated on the front teeth. It is the result of sugary particles resting on your child's teeth, usually overnight from drinking a bottle. In order to avoid baby bottle tooth decay, replace sugary drinks with water for overnight bottles. Clean the nipple of the bottle and any pacifiers you use thoroughly with water, and do not dip them in sugar to make them more enticing to your baby. By your baby's first birthday, encourage them to drink out of a cup. Transitioning to drinking out of a cup helps your baby to avoid having highly concentrated sugary liquids stay in one place in their mouth.
Do not share eating utensils with your baby.
Your baby begins to get curious about the food on your plate. While it is completely natural for them to want to explore new foods from your plate, make sure that you share food but not eating utensils with your baby. A tooth decaying bacteria called Streptococcus mutans is transmitted via saliva, and puts your baby at risk for developing cavities early on. Avoid sharing spoons and forks, cups, and even blowing on your baby's food to cool it. You should also clean anything that goes into your baby's mouth in the sink and not by putting it into your own mouth.
Brush your baby's teeth with warm water and a soft brush.
As soon as your baby starts teething, then it is time to introduce the healthy habit of tooth brushing. Use a soft brush and warm water to gently wash your baby's gums. This helps to stimulate their gums and also to keep them clean, which is important when a tooth erupts. The open gum tissue can become vulnerable to infection if the gums are not kept clean. Contact a dentist, such as Brit E. Bowers, DDS, if you have questions about your oral care.