After having a baby, you watch weeks of it fussing, drooling and finally… you spot that first tooth that pops out from the gums. It’s an exciting experience, but it’s also the beginning of a long and trying life to teach your kids about their teeth and why it’s important to take care of them. For some kids, taking care or allowing them to take care of their teeth is an easy task, for others, not so much. Either way, it all starts with you and what kind of a foundation you will help to create for your baby’s healthy teeth and mouth. Some parents think that you don’t take care of your baby’s teeth until they get older, but this isn’t the case. In fact, even before they start growing teeth you should be cleaning their gums at least. Here are some important tips on taking care of your baby’s teeth and mouth.
Caring For Baby’s Gums
Yes, you can take care of baby’s gums even before any teeth come in. You should be doing this especially if they are on a bottle. This does not involve a toothbrush or toothpaste; instead it’s a very simple process. Tale a soft terry towel and moisten it, wipe down your baby’s gums 2 times a day at a minimum. Be sure to really wash their gums after feedings and before bedtime. So what does this do? In a simple explanation, it really is just a great way to wash bacteria off of their gums. Bacteria, as with adults, can create plaque that sticks to the teeth and can damage them.
Brushing Of the Teeth
Once the first tooth starts popping out of the gums, you can then use a toothbrush. Just make sure you are getting a baby toothbrush and not a child’s or adult’s toothbrush – even at their softest these are too hard for a baby’s gums and way too big. You will need a soft toothbrush with a very small head and a larger handle for you to hold. When first starting out, just take the toothbrush and wet it with water making sure you get all of the teeth, front and back. Once more and more teeth start to come in, OVER the age of 3, you can use a pea sized amount of toothpaste. You should be the one brushing your child’s teeth until they can do so on their own, and they can spit rinse and repeat on their own. Make sure that from the time you see the first tooth that you look for any spotting or discoloration. If you do see anything odd, make sure you talk to your Family Dentist as well as your pediatrician.
Teething – An Uncomfortable Experience
Each baby goes through a stage where the teeth start to poke through the gums, this is called teething. Not only can it be painful for the baby, but hard for mom and dad too because chances are you are going to hear a lot of crying, fussing and seeing a lot of tears. It’s a difficult situation for any parent. You can tell when your baby is teething when they have swollen gums, they begin drooling more than usual and they have a slight temperature. If you want to try and get rid of teething pain, try these tips:
Teething Rings: Cool teething rings usually have water in them – freeze them or put them in the fridge for a cool temperature toy for them to chew on.
Bananas: If your child is old enough, you can freeze a banana and let them “gum” on the banana – tastes a lot better than a plastic toy that’s for sure!
Gum Rubbing: With a clean finger, you can rub your baby’s gums.
Never ever ever give your baby Aspirin. This can give your child a syndrome called Reye’s syndrome. It’s a rare condition but it can happen. Better to be safe than sorry. If the baby is really upset and you can’t calm him or her down, call your family doctor to see what you can do. Chances are they will suggest one of the above mentioned tips, but it’s worth a chance to see if they can offer additional support.