We often hear stories about babies being rushed to hospital because of bacterial infections with symptoms like high fever, stomach ache, diarrhea etc creating emergency situations and a sense of panic in parents. Sometimes the treatments of these infections involve feeding babies with high doses of antibiotics and hospital admissions adding to the sufferings of both baby and parents. Many of these infections source from things that babies put in their mouth or due to lack of their oral hygiene.
Oral hygiene in babies not only ensures dental hygiene but also helps with the baby’s overall well being. Baby’s first tooth usually erupts between 4 to 6 months after birth but practicing healthy oral hygiene habits since birth can help in building strong and healthy teeth as well as prevent decay and health issues. Whether you are nursing or bottle feeding, you should introduce an oral hygiene regimen as soon as possible. There are two important aspects of baby oral care hygiene: baby’s dental hygiene and maintaining the hygiene of things that go into your baby’s mouth. It's important to be proactive rather than being reactive and focus on both of these aspects to ensure your baby’s mouth is free of germs and cavities.
Here are the top 6 never to miss safety tips of baby’s oral hygiene that one must never ever neglect when taking care of a baby:
1. Early Cleansing
You can start caring for your baby's gums soon after his or her birth. Initially this care won't involve a toothbrush and toothpaste. Instead, take these steps to clean your baby’s mouth from birth until 6 months:
This will wash off bacteria and prevent them from clinging to gums. Bacteria can leave behind a sticky plaque that damages infant teeth as they come in.
2. Using a Finger Brush
By 7-8 months of age, your baby will have one or two teeth and graduating to a finger brush is a good idea. Go for a finger brush that is soft and non toxic. Bristles made up of silicon rubber are soft on baby gums and are completely safe for biting. It also helps to stimulate baby gums. Choose a brush that is free in size, which means, one size fits for all fingers. A silicon rubber brush is easily portable and is free from contamination when exposed.
Always ensure to clean the finger brush thoroughly with running water after cleaning baby’s gums, teeth and tongue. It is important to keep baby’s brush in a clean and hygienic place where it can dry.
3. Switch to Regular Toothbrush
Once the child is old enough to hold his/her brush, you can introduce your child to a regular toothbrush meant for children. It is advised to brush your child’s teeth until he or she is at least 3 years old. Always make it a point to supervise your child when he or she is brushing to ensure proper oral care hygiene. Go for a brush that is easy and light to hold. Let your child choose his or her own toothbrush;this motivates the child to brush on their own.
4. Sippy Cups
Making the transition from bottle or breast to a proper cup can be a challenge for a lot of children, and a sippy cup is an ideal product to bridge this gap.
Go for leak free, easy to use and easy to clean sippy cups. Sippy cups with bigger holes make them multi-functional to give juice or milk. Sippy cups should be easy for babies to grab and hold for self feeding.
5. Soft Soother
Hearing your baby cry, especially when it’s for no apparent reason, can be painful for mom and dad. This is when pacifiers or soft soothers that are small and easy to fit come to your rescue. Pacifiers are prone to fall more often if the baby does not suck it well. This means, they are also a source of germs to your baby’s mouth. Maintaining the hygiene of these soft soothers is of utmost importance to reduce the risk of infection due to contamination.
6. Bottles & Nipples
Introduce your child to a bottle that is not only colic-free and suits your baby’s requirement but is definitely BPA and EPA free. This takes care of preventing majority of infections from seeping into your baby. Besides bottles, picking the right nipple is equally important to ensure you have your baby’s oral hygiene under watch. Go for bottles and nipples that are easy to dismantle and clean, are dishwasher safe and do not require scrubbing or brushing.
Apart from all the regular feeding accessories that get into baby’s mouth, it is important to ensure that things like teethers, toys and many other things that baby regularly tends to put in his or her mouth is cleaned regularly with complete hygiene. When it comes to your child’s health, there is no compromise.
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