I can't wait to give my baby cavities! -Said no mother, ever.
When your baby is born their mouth is sterile. Meaning it has no bacteria in it. Obviously, they won’t stay this way forever and you don’t want it to because good bacteria is needed for proper function. It’s all about balance. Specifically pH balance.
There are a few things to know about for when your baby starts getting exposed to various people. Whether they spend a lot of time with you, their father or their caretaker, your baby will get some of their bacteria. I’m sure you don’t want it to be the disease causing kind much less allow the bacteria to grow and cause dental decay in the baby’s near future.
What Do You Need to Do?
Follow these 3 simple steps:
- Clean your baby’s mouth from day one.
- Take your baby to the dentist.
- Take care of your oral health as soon as you know you’re pregnant.
1. Clean your baby’s mouth from day one.
Like I said earlier, when your baby is born, their mouth is sterile. But that quickly changes after their first meal and real exposure to our non-sterile world. Just because your baby doesn’t have teeth, doesn’t mean their mouth doesn’t need to be cleaned. Both breast milk and formula has sugar which can leave food residue on their gums. This residue attracts bad bacteria and will start to form an acidic oral environment in your baby’s mouth.This greatly increases the chances of dental decay in your child’s primary teeth, especially since baby teeth have a much thinner protective enamel layer. They can also get a fungal infection called thrush. The earlier you get this acidity under control the better for your baby’s dental health in the future.
Another benefit to cleaning your baby’s mouth from day one is getting them used to good health habits. By having something physically clean their mouth they’re more likely to be comfortable at the dentist’s office too.
How to clean your baby’s mouth
From the time your baby’s born until their first birthday or when their first tooth shows clean their mouth with the following kit developed by a dentist and mother for you and your baby.
This is the swabbing method made easy for you to ensure your infants mouth is cleaned daily, to keep the number of disease causing bacteria in check early on. After that initial phase, use a soft toothbrush and tiny, like really tiny amount (later when they’re able to spit out, you can put a pea size amount) of kids toothpaste with fluoride.
Let me get real here: I’m an advocate for fluoride and won’t engage in any arguments regarding this topic. I use it on myself and my daughter. Fluoride is like iron: in high amounts it will kill you and in the right amounts it has a tremendous therapeutic benefit - as in anything in life, right? It becomes incorporated into your teeth and makes them more resilient to the acidity caused by bacteria.
However, if you’re strongly against fluoride, I get it and respect it. Make sure to incorporate xylitol products even more, take your child to the dentist more often, and control their snacking. With all that, don’t be surprised if they still get dental decay. Fluoride works.
2. Take your baby to the dentist.
When their first tooth erupts, or maximum, by their first birthday. It’s important for a child to have their “dental home” as described by pediatric dentist Dr. Mark Goldenberg. Click here for entire interview with the famous Dr. Goldenberg.
During their first visit, the dentist will:
check overall development examine the teeth and most importantly, educate the parent or caregiver. Hopefully if you’re reading this, and spending some time on koracare.com, you’re ahead of the game. The check up will be super quick for you and your baby.
3. Clean your mouth and take care of your oral health as soon as you know you’re pregnant.
If you have major decay or gum disease, you’re going to give it to your infant. Well, the disease causing bacteria at least.
With babies and children, it’s monkey see, monkey do.
If a child sees the parent taking care of their dental and gum health, investing the time and effort, the child will most likely do the same. We’re creatures of habit. Instilling good habits at an early age will do wonders for your child. It’ll save you a lot of time, agony, missed school days, and money in the future. Give your child and your family, the gift of dental health by a little attention and prevention.
Following these steps will set up your baby up to have zero cavities, be comfortable with the dentist, and not have dental phobia like many kids who weren’t exposed to early dental care.
Quote of the day
"We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them."
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