Just because your child hasn’t had their teeth grow through yet, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be looking after their mouths and gums in the meantime. Your baby can still experience harmful bacteria growing in their mouths which cause dangerous dental conditions later in life.
Here’s why you should brush before there’s teeth.
First and foremost, using a brush to clean your baby’s gums isn’t recommended. This is because using a brush can cause some discomfort to your child, especially if they’ve got inflamed gums. When you do try to clean their mouth, most would suggest that you use a damp cloth – however, this may not be the best method.
Since a damp cloth can be unhygienic if not properly cleaned after every use, try using disposable dental wipes instead. This way, you don’t need to worry about putting anything that is not sterile in your babies mouth.
Also, since they can be placed in the fridge with no risk of contamination, they’ll help to reduce any inflammation your child may experience when teeth do start coming through.
Fight Bacterial Growth
Cleaning your baby’s mouth and gums after every feeding is thoroughly recommended in order to prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria. If you allow bacteria to build up in your babies mouth, it can even begin to infect their teeth before they’ve come through.
An infected tooth can easily become decayed and spread to nearby teeth. Not only that, but since their place isn’t ‘held’, it can cause their adult teeth to push through in the wrong places, leading to further problems as they grow up.
Promote Good Dental Hygiene
If you don’t try and clean your babies mouth before they’ve grown teeth, then when you finally do it’ll be much harder for them to get used to it. In fact, your child may end up with an adverse reaction to having their teeth cleaned.
By cleaning their mouth and gums from a young age, your child is more likely to grow up caring about their teeth and wanting to keep them clean and healthy. That’s why you should try and make the experience as pleasurable as possible.
Builds a Routine
By starting young, you can easily get your child using to the routine of cleaning their teeth twice a day. This way, as they age, it’ll already be something that’s ingrained into them. With a routine in place, it should also make it much easier to get them ready and fed in the mornings, and also settled for bed in the evenings.
It’s important that you keep the routine consistent. That means doing the same things, in the same order, at the same time each night. By keeping the routine uniform, your baby should be able to quickly get used to going to sleep at a certain time. It’s better that you start this early, as the later you leave it, the harder it will be to get them to follow it.
When your baby starts to teeth, their tooth will start putting significant pressure on their gums. Understandably, this can cause discomfort and pain. When cleaning your baby’s mouth and gums, your finger puts a soothing pressure in the opposite direction, counteracting some of the pain that they feel.
Since it can be difficult to know when exactly their teeth are going to start coming through, regular cleaning is the only way to make sure that you’re providing your baby with the comfort needed to ease their teething pains.
When and How to Brush
Once your baby’s teeth come through, you’re going to want to switch to a soft-bristle baby toothbrush. This will help to remove any bacteria that’s built up in your child’s mouth and is especially important if your child is eating any sort of food (even pureed food can cause a build-up of harmful bacteria).
The most important area for you to clean is the front and back of your baby’s teeth. Do this very gently and without toothpaste. If possible, also run the bristles over your child’s gums and tongue. This can eliminate the bacteria that causes bad breath and should keep your baby’s mouth and teeth as healthy as possible.
It’s best to check with your dentist when you should start using toothpaste with your child. Fluoride can help to strengthen teeth, but too much can also pose a risk to health. When you do start using it, it’s generally advised that you use a rice grain-sized amount.
And those are the reasons why you should keep your baby’s mouth clean, even before they grow any teeth. Promoting a good dental hygiene routine when your child is young is an excellent way to keep them to teach them healthy habits that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.