When your baby starts teething, you know that they are reaching an important developmental milestone. Your baby's diet changes as more options become available for their meals. As a parent, it is important for you to be able to support your baby's health as they continue to develop. One aspect of health that needs to be managed is your baby's oral health, and that comes to the fore as soon as your baby starts to teethe. Here are three tips that help to protect your baby's oral health.
Keep a separate spoon and fork for your baby at meal times.
When your baby transitions into eating solid foods, they will be naturally curious about what is on your plate. Make sure that you only feed your baby with a spoon or fork that is separate from your own. A bacteria called Streptococcus mutans can be passed from your saliva to your baby's mouth and put them at greater risk for developing tooth decay. This risk increases if you already suffer from cavities. In addition to keeping spoons and forks separate, make sure that you also have a cup only for your baby's use and avoid blowing on their food as well.
Begin brushing your baby's gums when they start to teethe.
Your baby reaches for a soft toy to chew on to stimulate their gums when they begin teething. Brushing their gums with a soft toothbrush and warm water also helps to stimulate their gums. This also helps to keep their mouth clean when their teeth start to erupt, lowering their risk for developing a bacterial infection in their open gums. It is also advantageous to model healthy behaviors such as tooth brushing early on because your baby then learns to carry on a healthy habit.
Take your baby to the dentist by their first birthday.
Your baby's first appointment with the dentist should occur by their first birthday at the latest. It is beneficial to have this dental visit (from a professional such as one from Round Lake Dental Clinic) early on for a number of reasons. The dentist is able to analyze your baby's risk of developing cavities and can help you make adjustments to their diet and oral hygiene care in order to promote their oral health. The dentist may also be able to see early factors that affect your child's bite, such as thumb sucking and baby bottle tooth decay; this can help you to begin early intervention.