The importance of inculcating positive oral hygiene habits in your little ones cannot be overstated.
At a time when your children are just beginning to pick up healthy habits and discover what will eventually become routine patterns, there’s really no better time than now to teach them the best oral hygiene habits.
It is true that oral hygiene begins at home. As parents, when you set a good example by brushing twice a day and flossing daily in front of the little ones, it’s far more instructive than any other teaching tool out there in the world.
Oral Care Tips for Newborn to 6 months
For bubs, you will need to make sure that they see a dentist at least once a year, from as soon as their baby teeth start coming in – typically when they are about 3 months old.
You can start your baby on the road to proper oral care by gently massaging their gums – yes, even before they have teeth!
If you wish to do this the proper way, you can purchase a special tooth brush or finger cover. Do not attempt cleaning their gums with anything other than a clean brush at this stage, and make sure to clean the brush after each use.
The purpose of early brushing is to get your baby used to having a strange elongated object in his or her mouth. It will also feel good on those developing gums.
Oral Care Tips for 6 months to 1 year
As an average, the baby teeth will usually start emerging when your baby is around six months of age. Granted while some children may sprout teeth without any pain or discomfort, others will have a more difficult time.
Common signs of teething include:
- Difficulty sleeping well
- Cold-like symptoms (such as runny nose)
- Chin rash (as a result of drooling)
- Biting and gnawing
- Cheek rubbing
- Ear pulling
- Low-grade fever
One important thing to note is that diarrhea and fever can also be symptoms of other illnesses, and shouldn’t be dismissed as a part of teething unless you and your doctor have ruled out other causes. Some doctors even disagree that diarrhea and fever are symptoms of teething at all.
Once the tooth has fully emerged, it is time to take care of it.
For an infant, using a wet washcloth or specially designed brush or finger cover to clean the tooth is all you need. At this stage, you shouldn’t be using any tooth paste or gel in your baby’s mouth, unless it is specially marketed for infants. You will continue to do this until they are ready for standard brushing.
Choose your dentist wisely
Not all dentists are created equal. Some clinics are definitely more welcoming for children.
Seeking out a child-friendly dental clinic isn’t exactly rocket science. You can tell a lot by looking at the office interiors – a well-stocked children’s library; a kiddy play area that is thoughtfully designed for comfort and safety; and most importantly by how the dentists and dental staff interact with your kids.
Of course, if your little one brightens up the next time you mention going to the clinic, this one’s a definite winner!