Hi All, I am Dr. Krishna Priya, a Pediatric dentist based in Bangalore.
I completed my BDS and my one-year Internship from the prestigious Institute, Sri Ramachandra Dental College, Chennai in the year 2004 and have completed my Masters in Pediatric Dentistry from RV Dental College, Bangalore in the year 2009. I have been practicing at my clinic from 2010 onwards in Bangalore.
Dr. Hema and I are school friends from Madurai and we reconnected on Facebook after a long gap of 18 years. She runs a highly resourceful blog for new parents at mylittlemoppet.com and has been requesting me to write posts on Pediatric dentistry for a while. Due to certain personal commitments, I was unable to do it earlier.
Thank you Dr.Hema for your patience and faith in me, hope I will do justice to space.
Let me start off today with a very basic topic Infant oral health care, which I would consider as the foundation for a lifetime of a beautiful, healthy smile.
Since this topic covers various segments, I will deal with one by one in the coming months in as simple terms as possible and guide you through into making the healthy smile a reality
Don’t we all desire our child to have a beautiful smile like this one throughout life?
So, here are some of the things that we need to look at.
Oral Hygiene Maintenance
1. What is Oral Hygiene maintenance?
Oral hygiene maintenance refers to the act of cleaning the various parts of the mouth which include the teeth, gums, tongue, cheeks etc
2. Why is it important to maintain Oral hygiene & how do I clean my baby’s mouth?
When a baby enters this world, its mouth is sterile (no bacteria). But in a matter of minutes, bacteria start colonising its mouth. And as soon as the first tooth erupts, there is a shift in the bacterial type and there appears cavity causing bacteria in large numbers.
So, is there any way to eliminate them?
Unfortunately, No !!!
But the good news is that we can keep their numbers sufficiently low and prevent cavities.
Baby’s mouth has very delicate tissues. So we should be gentle while cleaning. Start oral care routine early in baby’s life.
3. Oral Care Routine
It can be done by wiping the baby’s gums and teeth if any after every feed with a moist clean cotton or a soft moist cloth. This will help remove milk residue and food debris sticking to the tissues. This will prevent gum and soft tissue irritation, prevent bad odour and reduce cavity-causing germs.
When the baby starts teething, usually around 6 months of age, massaging the baby’s gums with slight pressure helps relieve gum irritation and relieve discomfort.
Once teeth erupt into the mouth, a slip-on silicone finger toothbrush like the one here can be used by the parent or care-taker twice daily to simulate tooth brushing along with wiping after the feeds. This will help get the baby into the habit of toothbrushing more easily.
Feeding and Diet for Good Dental Health
4. What kind of a diet is good for dental health?
Breast milk has been proven in many studies to be superior to formula milk in terms of cavity prevention. If you can breastfeed your baby, it is recommended to do so exclusively for the first six months. Weaning can be started with preferably home cooked simple food which is low in sugars after that.
What special precautions do I need to take regarding feeding?
5.Once the baby starts growing new teeth in the mouth, reduce the frequency of night time feeds. Repeated/continuous use of bottles, sippy cups or continuous breastfeeding especially at night time also increases the risk of cavities in babies.
6.Remember to burp the baby after every feed to ensure that there is no milk residue left in the mouth which can be putrified by bacteria and cause cavities.
7.In-between meal consumption of sugary snacks and drinks (juices, formula, soda) are associated with increased risk of cavities. So try to restrict them only at meal times. Soda can also cause erosion of enamel due to their acidic nature and hence it is advised to avoid it completely for babies.
8. Encourage your baby to drink from a regular open cup (tumbler) as early as 10 months of age. Do not worry if the baby spills half its contents, that’s the way to learn.
9. Encourage the baby to have finger foods from an early age. Fibrous food help in cleaning teeth surfaces and help prevent cavities. Foods like cheese provide the necessary calcium which also ensures healthy teeth.
10. Taper the usage of bottles for giving milk slowly and stop its use latest by one year of age
When do I need to seek a Dental Professional’s help?
It is recommended for the child to be taken to a dentist for the first time as soon as the first tooth erupts into the mouth or latest by the child’s first birthday. This will ensure early initiation of preventive care for the child.
I will be elaborating more on this in a separate post.
Next post on ” What to expect on your baby’s First Dental Visit?”
So, until then, Keep Smiling 🙂
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You can contact Dr. Krishna Priya through our Facebook Group Happy Parents Clan, where you can clear all your doubts regarding Infant Oral Health Care.
Consultant Pediatric Dentist,
I blog at Myramblings.in