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It is important to care for your baby’s dental health because even babies can get cavities! Yikes, no one wants that.
This past weekend my boys had their first dental checkup! Well, my husband and I had our teeth cleaning and thought, “Why not get the boys checked as well?” Thankfully, their teeth are coming in just fine without any sign of tooth decay. Yay!
Dental care from birth to eruption of the first tooth (babies without teeth!)
Make sure to wipe the inside of the mouth with some gauze or washcloth. I failed to do this for the first couple of weeks since their birth, because I just didn’t know I was supposed to do it. But afterwards, I got in the habit wiping their mouth twice (morning and night) each day with a washcloth. (We use the organic bamboo washcloths that were gifted to us by my brother!) I would just wet it a bit and wipe it around. I know some people use those finger gum brushes but I think washcloth worked just fine for us!
When the boys began teething, I continued wiping their mouth with washcloth but also with banana toothbrush. What I really love about the banana toothbrush is that it can also be used as a teether. My babies could hold the toothbrush themselves and chew away. It also is a great distractor when diaper changing so they don’t escape from me.
Dental care for babies with teeth
My boys got their first erupted teeth when they were about 7 months! From what I have heard, babies get their first teeth are varying times, but for us they both had their first teeth coming in on the bottom at around the end of 7 months. Owen had his first tooth before Wyatt. Wyatt had his first one on his bottom left and Owen had his bottom right come out first.
The boys would have some major clingy, fussy days on those days where their teeth would emerge. Personally, I have not tried any teething gels of any sort due to our doctor recommending against it. She informed us that many of those over-the-counter medicines were not even research-based and she believes that they might not be so safe for babies. Due to that reason, I decided to not give them any of those. Some people might swear by them, but instead, I would just offer my breast more or try to soothe them with extra snuggles and kisses. My boys were not hysterically crying due to the pain, but were just more needy on those days.
Our doctor recommended that we use toothpaste with flouride to prevent cavities, so we have been using Tom’s Anticavity Fluoride Children’s Toothpaste. I personally appreciate this particular brand because it’s more “natural” and doesn’t contain artificial flavors.
However, when we went to the dentist this past weekend, we were told that we should be using flouride-free toothpaste, because flouride can be toxic if swallowed. I’m pretty sure my boys had their fair-share of flouride by now, since we have been brushing their teeth daily twice a day for about 5 months now, but I’m just crossing my fingers that they will be okay. Since this past weekend, we have switched over to the Tom’s Natural Toddler Training Fluoride Free Toothpaste. I honestly still don’t know which is better (flouride or flouride-free), but I do feel more comfortable with the flouride-free toothpaste. As parents, we just need to make the decision on what we think is best.
Daily dental habits: Brushing Teeth
We currently are using RADIUS Pure Baby Toothbrush. It’s for children 6 to 18 Months and after doing some research, I preferred this brand for some of its features being clear/dye free and having “ultra soft” bristles. When I looked at some other brands, there were dyes in the brush, and while it may not be such a big deal, I preferred to go with this one when given the choice!
Tips from our dentist!
- Make sure that you get those teeth brush twice daily: morning and night!
- Use a gauze or toothbrush to brush teeth
- Use flouride-free toothpaste for babies. Flouride can be toxic if too much is swallowed.
- Don’t offer formula/breastmilk bottle after teeth have been brushed!
- Floss daily! Flossing was a whole new concept for us. I had no idea I was supposed to be flossing my kids’ teeth! They told me as long as they have 2 teeth right next to each other, we need to get them flossed because it may cause tooth decay without the proper care. I personally think it’s a good habit to teach early so we have officially started flossing today. Let me tell you… we had some major crying from both boys. It was a complete battle and they were so uncomfortable with us getting in their mouths with this minted string getting in between their teeth.
How to brush your baby’s teeth! (Our way)
- Place a towel or have baby wear a bib to prevent clothes from getting wet. (Tip: I also have my boys sit in front of the mirror since they love looking at themselves and offer a toy or fidget like toothpaste tube to keep them still and happy. Sometimes, I brush their teeth when I give them a sink bath as they tend to stay more calm then)
- Place toothpaste on brush and brush away! I brush each side–top and bottom– for 10 seconds each. (Sometimes, I sing my made-up brushing teeth song) Even though they don’t have any teeth in many areas, I still make sure to brush thoroughly in each section. I also make sure to lift their lips up and down to get all gum areas as well.
- Since babies can’t rinse and spit yet, I just rewet the brush and brush again with water only. I also try to brush away their tongue and the roof of their mouth to make sure everything is clean!
I’m not a dentist or doctor of any sort, but as always, I do hope that my posts can serve to help guide any moms who were as lost as I was in caring for my babes! I take the knowledge from healthcare professionals and the internet and bring it together to apply it, personalized to what I feel is best for us!