The mouth of a new born baby is sterile until birth, but as soon as the baby is born germs start accumulating rapidly in the mouth. So cleaning the gums and teeth of babies are very important for good oral health right from the childhood.

How and when should I start to clean my baby’s mouth?

Before teeth eruption (birth to 6months): Gently wipe the gums, tongue and the entire mouth with a small piece of gauze or cotton soaked with water.

After teeth eruption (6months to 3years): The first tooth starts to erupt between 4 to 7 months. As more teeth erupts we advise you to brush  your baby’s teeth with soft baby tooth brush in a circular motion. Make sure you only use a grain sized fluoridated tooth paste for brushing. Also encourage them to spit it rather than swallowing it.

What is teething and how to manage it?

Eruption of teeth in the mouth is termed as teething. During this period babies might experience discomforts, irritations, sleep trouble, pain, and swollen gums. These symptoms can be observed for 3- 4 days before and after the eruption of teeth. Pain due to teething can be relieved by using teething toys or by applying pressure in the erupting areas with clean hands or cloth.

What is the importance of baby teeth?

Baby teeth helps the babies to chew, talk and  most importantly they hold the space for future permanent teeth to come in. Cavities in the baby teeth if left untreated can lead to early loss and alter the course upcoming permanent teeth, so preserving baby teeth is as important as the permanent teeth.

How to protect baby teeth from decay?

Consuming sugary and sticky foods should be controlled and can be taken during meal time. Bottle feeding with sugary drinks before sleeping is the most destructive habit for toddlers and kids. This habit can lead to multiple decay in a short span and must be avoided at all cost.

What are the uncommon problems babies can encounter in mouth?

Natal teeth– A new born child can be born with one or two teeth which is known as natal teeth, these teeth have to be removed as they could injure the opposing gum pad and can harm the mother while breast feeding.

Eruption cyst– During teething a bluish swelling may appear in the region where the tooth erupts which is termed as eruption cyst. This cyst resolves on its own during the eruption process, if not please consult your dentist immediately.

Dr Arungani NS , General Dentist

Denticare, Chennai

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