But My Baby Doesn’t Have Teeth Yet!
But they will one day!
You’ve got to clean your baby’s mouth! It has to be done. End of story!
- Get a soft, damp cloth and use it to gently rub the baby’s gums and tongue, at least 1x a day.
That’s it. That is literally all you need to do for the first several months to ensure healthy gums and oral hygiene for your baby.
Even if there are no teeth, this needs to be completed! Many parents are resistant to placing their finger or a cloth in their child’s mouth, and I’m not sure why. Just think of it as another way to keep your baby clean and healthy! I will say it is easier to complete this if you lay the baby down on your lap so you can see into their mouth.
Following this advice also helps prepare your child’s mouth for baby food tastes, purees and solids by decreasing their gag reflex and allowing them to experience tactile input. It serves a similar purpose as when child put toys in their mouth to chew on- decreases their sensory sensitivities (which we are all about!). Be aware- there will probably be gagging. That’s okay, it’s normal.
Kid’s don’t need to use toothpaste until they are 2 years old and I recommend using a fluoride free paste until they understand how to spit it out. There’s plenty of fluoride in our drinking water, so don’t worry about that just yet.
Another way to ensure health teeth and gums for little ones is to limit the sugary drinks they have access to. That means, no soda, no juice (even watered down), no tea, etc in their bottles or sippy cups! They don’t need it! Heck, we don’t need it.
The American Pediatric Association recommends no fruit juice be given to children under 12 months old because it offers no nutritional value to their diet. Giving them water is a much healthier, not to mention cheaper, alternative. Look here if you don’t believe me!
Make their first dental appointment when the first tooth comes in. It may seem early, but it’s good practice to put an emphasis on health, as well as get the child used to going to the dentist.