…continued from Part 1.
An alternative to fluoridated toothpaste for babies?
A good alternative that is available in the market is xylitol. Xylitol has properties that reduce levels of bacteria in the plaque and saliva. Below are some of the toothpastes available in the market.
When does oral hygiene measure begin?
Start cleaning your baby’s teeth and gums with a wet washcloth or gauze. Do this at least once a day or after feedings. Once your baby starts to get teeth, clean their mouth at least twice a day. When your child is 1 to 2 years old, switch to a soft baby toothbrush with water. Make sure to use the correct amount of toothpaste (as mentioned in part 1). Brush your baby’s teeth at least twice a day. Here’s a short video by the NHS UK as demonstration:
Do not let your baby fall asleep with a bottle, the milk can pool in your baby’s mouth and eventually lead to tooth decay.
For the same reason, do not give your baby a sippy cup of juice or milk in the crib. Your baby can start using a sippy cup when they are about 6 months old. Stop giving your baby a bottle when they are 1 year old. Do not let your baby walk around with a sippy cup unless it has only water in it.
Once your child is 1 year old, give them water or plain milk between meals instead of other drinks. Only give them juice or flavored milk with meals. Juice and flavored milk have a lot of sugar in them.
You can give your baby a pacifier but only when needed. Try to stop using a pacifier around age 2. The same age applies for babies who suck their thumbs. Prolonged use of a pacifier or thumb sucking can cause problems with teeth alignment. Talk to your doctor about which type of pacifier you should use. Always use a clean pacifier. Do not dip it in honey or another substance that has sugar.
When to see a dentist?
The AAPD recommends that your baby should see a dentist for the first time around their first birthday. A general check up at the dentist would enable early detection of disease, if there is any. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
For extra reading: