How to care for your baby's gums and teeth?
Aside from taking care of your baby’s daily diet, it is also important to care for your baby's gums and teeth. Babies need healthy teeth to chew food and speak clearly. So give your baby a healthy start by cleaning or brushing your baby's gums often, feeding your baby healthy foods, and taking your baby to the dentist when he's one year old.
Here are some tips for keeping your baby's gums and teeth healthy:
Teeth and Gum Care
- Check your baby's gums and teeth once a month, looking for white spots, and if you see white spots, take your baby to the dentist right away.
- Take your baby to the dentist when he is 1 year old to have his teeth and gums checked.
- Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste twice a day, after breakfast and before bed.
- Floss once a day before bedtime.
- Eat healthy foods such as whole grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, and nuts.
- Cut down on foods high in sugar like candy, biscuits or cakes.
- Limit sugary drinks, such as fruit-flavoured drinks or soft drinks (soda). Eat sweets or drink sugary drinks only during mealtimes.
Taking care of your baby's mouth
- After each feeding, use a clean, damp washcloth, or a toothbrush with soft bristles specially designed for babies, to clean your baby's gums until their first teeth come in.
- When your baby's first tooth comes in (usually around 6 to 10 months), start brushing with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
- When brushing, brush the front and back of your baby's teeth.
- Lift your baby's lips and gently brush the gum line of the front teeth.
- If your baby has sore gums from teething, clean your baby's gums with clean fingers.
- Bacteria can be transferred from your mouth to your baby’s mouth, so use a spoon instead of your mouth to test the temperature of your baby's food.
- If your baby's pacifier or bottle nipple falls on the floor, clean it with water.
- Do not dip pacifiers in sweet foods such as sugar, honey or syrup.
Provide your baby healthy foods
- Breast milk is the best food for your baby, if you can, breastfeed your baby for 6 months or more. If you feed your baby formula, choose a formula that contains iron.
- Wait until your baby is 1 year old to give him cow's milk.
- Hold your baby while feeding breastmilk or formula from the bottle.
- Don't put your baby to sleep with a bottle filled with breast milk, formula, fruit juice, or sugary drinks such as fruit-flavored drinks or soda.
- Wait until your baby is 1 year old before giving your baby fruit juice.
- Start solid foods when your baby is about 4 to 6 months old. Do not give your baby solids until he is ready. One of the ways to tell if your baby is ready is if your baby can sit up without holding on to anything.
- Wean your baby when he starts eating more solid foods and starts drinking from a cup. At about 9 to 10 months of age, start slowly weaning your baby off the bottle. By the age of 12 to 14 months, most babies can drink from a cup.