Caring for Baby Teeth
With teeth comes great responsibility but what exactly can you do to care for those new toothy pegs? Caring for baby teeth can start well before the teeth actually appear – yes, this first set may only hang around for a short while, but establishing good habits early will actually pay off for permanent teeth in the long. I’ll admit, as a mum, it’s not always easy to encourage a baby to appreciate good dental hygiene, but like all habits, the earlier you start, the easier it can be!
Here’s some great tips on how to care for baby teeth from day dot:
Wipe it, baby!
Well before teeth appear, you can get into the habit of wiping across gums after milk or food. It’s as simple at using a damp washcloth wrapped around your finger and getting baby used to the sensation along the gums. We also stock Jack n’ Jill Baby Gum and Tooth wipes to make it even easier – completely natural and safe, these wipes are made from 100% cotton and designed to wrap around your finger and gently wipe on gums, teeth, tongue and cheeks. They're great for wiping dummies on the go (sucking dummies yourself to clean them is a no/no as it transfers bacteria) or around nipples before/after a feed too!
As teeth first start appear, it’s important to start establishing daily habit’s now to make sure those baby teeth are strong and healthy. Even though baby teeth are short term, neglecting these can cause cavities (just like in permanent teeth), can contribute to gum infections like gingivitis and can even affect spacing of permanent teeth when things do go wrong – after all, their job is to hold the space for permanent teeth and it’s an important job too! When those permanent teeth do come in they’re, well, permanent.
Start with a silicone finger brush, designed to be placed on mum’s (or dad’s) index finger and rubbed along teeth and gums. These double-sided brushes can be used in two ways - use the brush side for gentle cleaning of baby's teeth, with or without natural toothpaste. Use the dimple side to massage gums – not only does it get babe used to the sensation of cleaning baby teeth and gums, it’s perfect for teething babies as it massages and soothes too. Our Jack n’ Jill version is great value at just $7.95 for a two pack, including case!
On the topic of cavities, one tip is to be conscious of baby’s bottles. Putting baby to bed with a bottle of milk is known for contributing to cavities because the sugar in milk sits on teeth. Avoid leaving babe with a bottle for long periods and take them away when they’re no longer feeding. A quick gum wipe will do the trick to wipe away any lingering milk sugars.
Brusher, brusher, brusher!
As teeth are start to settle in, it’s time to introduce babe to brushing and toothpaste twice a day. We love the Jack n’ Jill silicone toothbrush, complete with safety shield as its perfect when babe wants to start holding the brush for themselves. Hot top - embrace it! The more interested you can get them in caring for their baby teeth early, the better! You can even introduce mild toothpaste – choose a variety formulated specifically for your child’s age as they are suitably mild for taste. You don’t want them discouraged by a ‘spicy’ taste as my 3-year-old calls it (sparkling water is also classed as spicy by his standards)! Better yet, try a natural toothpaste like Jack n’ Jill’s which can be used from 6 months of age. It’s flavour free but still yum, and our personal fav!
When’s it’s time to upgrade to a bristle toothbrush, choose one’s that super soft and again, designed specifically for the age of your baby. Jack n’ Jill’s Natural Bio toothbrush is not only perfect for small hands and teeth, it’s great for the environment too! Now that’s a win/win!
By age 3, you should start regular visits to the dentist for a quick check up. At these visits, the dentist may not do much more than a quick count and exam of the teeth, but getting them used to the chair and bright lights will make dentist visits much easier in the future. It also ensures that any problems that are starting to form are picked up early. At 5, my eldest son loves the moving chair and will eagerly jump on in. He’s even willingly gone through an x-ray because it was cool. My 3-year-old was a little more hesitant, but as a first go, he laid down (with me) and happily had his teeth checked. By 5, I’m sure he’ll be as keen as his big bro. Taking them to the dentist prior to this, to witness your own checkup, will also model good habits.
Added bonus, you may even get a take home pack, which, if they’re anything like my boys, will get them home and eager to brush their teeth with their new goodies for a day or two!