Basics of Oral Care, Because there’s a reason why they call it "Teething"
Have those pearly whites of your toddler been a topic of concern for you as a parent? Then this article might just be for you at the right time. Let’s talk about oral hygiene and how you can make brushing a fun and engaging activity. Like all new moms, I was equally concerned and did some research on my end. While I was on a lookout for brushes, toothpastes for my son’s first teeth, I was dazzled by the wide range of products available for tiny tots on Flipkart. They definitely give that helping hand to parents to make informed decisions through their product reviews and recommendations.
Why Oral Hygiene is Important?
It doesn't matter how many weeks or months old your baby is, the moment your baby starts feeding, it is about time to take care of their oral hygiene. We don't forget to wipe or bathe them daily then why skip oral cleaning! Remember a baby is more susceptible to infection than a grown up kid (above 5 years of age). I follow what Dentists across the world have suggested and that is - clean your baby's mouth even before they start teething.
With toddlers, it’s easier said than done; sooner the routine, the better will be the practice. You can make a routine gradually and make it fun by introducing a “Brush Song”.
- Use your child’s favourite colour of Brus
- Go for age specific toothpaste
- Ensure that the brush is attractive enough for the child to hold it on his own
When my son didn’t have any teeth, I used to sing this song “I want to be clean so I brush my teeth... up and down and underneath, I want to be clean so I brush my teeth because it’s good for me, brush, brush, brush”! and then clean his gums using a soft specially designed cleaning cloth during his bath time. Just wear it on finger and clean your baby’s gums gently.
Dos and Don’ts of Brushing
Brushing the right way is the key to oral hygiene. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when brushing your little one’s teeth:
- Brush twice a day: Brush in the morning and right before bedtime. Use a baby toothbrush with a small head and grip suitable for your hand. If your baby hasn't yet started teething, you can use a damp cloth (use drinking water) and clean your baby's tongue and gently wipe the gums.
- Use a tiny amount of toothpaste (It is my personal choice that I use a paste containing fluoride salts (FDA approved quantity)): Squeeze a thin smear of any fluoridated toothpaste or a dot, the size of a grain of rice onto the brush (Not all toothpastes marketed for babies contain fluoride). It is believed that Fluoride containing tooth paste delays tooth decay, however its totally up to your “motherly instincts” to whether or not choose a Fluoride containing toothpaste. It is always recommended to go with your Pediatrician’s advise if you are confused.
- Brush gently on the inside and outside of each of your baby's teeth, as well as tongue, to dislodge bacteria that can cause bad breath. Since you're using such a small amount of toothpaste, don't worry if your baby gulps in the little foam. Toothpastes for babies less than 3 years are made keeping in mind that they will engulf it. However, try to make them habitual of rinsing their mouth and spitting out the foam. This will take a while for your kid. But stay calm, they’ll learn it too.
- Use soft bristle brush and if possible try to find a brush that has 3 way arrangements of bristles. I bought this tooth brush for my son.
- Replace the toothbrush as soon as the bristles start to look worn or splayed.
- Floss should only be done if your child has very less inter-tooth gap and there is a visible plaque deposition which is not getting cleaned by brush. Use specially designed floss for toddlers and children as suggested by Paediatric Dentists
- Don’t put too much pressure while brushing, it might harm the gums and after brushing, once in 2 to 3 days, massage your child’s gums.
Remember, it is not easy to get your child to open his/her mouth willingly at first, but as a parent it is up to us how easily and quickly we can make it a habit for them. Children under 6 years of age, will still need help brushing. So to make it fun, try to sing a song every time you take your baby for a brushing session. Brushing your teeth while they brush theirs is an excellent way of teaching them the art of brushing. Children are excellent observers and they learn fast when they mirror you. So time to shine those pearly teeth. Happy Brushing.