Hi All, I am Dr. Krishna Priya, a Pediatric dentist based in Bangalore, specializing in infant oral health care.
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, and ensuring proper infant oral health care.
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, devoid of bacteria. However, within minutes, bacteria begin to colonize the mouth. As the first tooth erupts, a shift occurs in the types of bacteria present, with an increase in cavity-causing bacteria. This emphasizes the importance of maintaining oral hygiene and implementing proper infant oral health care practices.
So, is there any way to eliminate them?
Unfortunately, No !!!
But the good news is that we can effectively manage and control their presence to prevent cavities and maintain optimal infant oral health care.
Considering the delicate tissues in a baby’s mouth, it is essential to adopt gentle cleaning practices. Initiating an early oral care routine for your baby will lay the foundation for a lifetime of good oral hygiene habits and a healthy smile.
3. Oral Care Routine
To ensure optimal infant oral health care, gently wipe your baby’s gums and emerging teeth after each feed. This simple practice helps remove residue, prevents gum irritation, and reduces the risk of cavities. Additionally, massaging the gums during teething and introducing a slip-on silicone finger toothbrush for twice-daily brushing promotes good oral hygiene habits from an early age. Taking these steps will contribute to your baby’s overall oral health and well-being.
Feeding and Diet for Good Dental Health
4. What kind of a diet is good for dental health?
A diet that promotes infant oral health care is essential for your child’s dental well-being. 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. By providing a diet that supports oral health, you can ensure your baby’s teeth and gums stay healthy and strong.
5. What special precautions do I need to take regarding feeding?
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. Proper infant oral health care and hygiene practices, including limiting nighttime feeding, can help prevent dental issues and promote a healthy smile.
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