Oral health care begins in infancy. If you’re a first-time parent, taking care of your baby’s gums—and eventually their teeth—is an essential step in proper dental care. Learn why pediatric dentists emphasize oral health practices with infants and what you can do to put your baby on the path of healthy teeth and gums.
Why Infant Gum Care is Important
Baby teeth come in between the ages of 6 months and 1 year; however, this doesn’t mean you should wait to start your infant’s oral care regimen. Gums require cleaning after each meal, just like teeth, to prevent excess bacteria production and help relieve teething-related soreness. Never test how hot your baby’s bottle is by drinking from it, as you can pass bacteria from your mouth to their gums. Do not put the infant’s pacifier in your mouth or share utensils for the same reason.
How to Keep Gums Clean & Healthy
Massage your baby’s gums with a clean, wet washcloth or piece of gauze. Wrap the material around your pointer finger and stick it in your freezer for a few seconds if the infant is teething, as it will provide a soothing, numbing effect. Providing a clean teething ring post-massage is also an option to numb erupting teeth.
As your baby develops a taste for drinks other than breast milk or formula, it’s important to be wary of baby bottle tooth decay. This type of tooth decay occurs from prolonged exposure to sugary drinks, such as letting your baby suck on a bottle with fruit juice for a long time or dipping a pacifier in sugar. Pediatric dentists suggest to give your baby plenty of water after every juice bottle and refrain from feeding them processed sugars to encourage healthy teeth and gum development.
If you’re looking for a pediatric dentist to schedule your baby’s first professional dental care visit, contact Discovery Dental. Serving Eagle River, AK, and the surrounding areas, these pediatric dentists provide positive dental experiences for children so they grow up excited instead of nervous about semi-annual teeth cleanings and checkups. Call (907) 622-5437 to make an appointment or visit their website to read more about their services.