If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're on baby number one. First off, congrats. Next, breathe. You got this. These beautiful moments you're about to experience will be new for you and your baby. But fear not, your parental sense will kick in and keep your baby happy and healthy. One of the more significant phases in your little one's life is the teething stage. Even before you see their first pearly white, the beginning of their oral care journey begins. And that starts with their gums. The healthier your baby's gums are, the smoother the teething process will be. Plus, the sooner you start tending to their oral care, the sooner it becomes a routine that one day, many years down the road, you'll put in their hands. See how to keep your baby's gums healthy and keep your baby happy.
Five Tips For Keeping Baby Gums Healthy
Your baby will begin to teethe around the 6-month age. Many parents don't realize that your baby's oral care doesn't start with teeth but the gums. Start to clean your baby's gums at the first sign of teething. That's usually when they get fussy, and their gums are red and swollen. You can gently massage them with your finger or wet gauze. A cold finger or gauze helps the soreness. This not only cleans off bacteria buildup but also acts as a soothing teething remedy.
Another way to keep your baby happy and healthy is to avoid baby bottle tooth decay. Extended contact with the natural sugars in all kinds of milk and juice leads to tooth decay and unhealthy gums. So here's what you need to do:
- Keep their pacifiers clean
- Brush as soon as the first tooth pops out and often
- Don't give a bottle to a baby in bed
- Continue cleaning their gums as all of their teeth come in
- Until they can brush thoroughly, help them brush their teeth properly
Usually, once babies' bellies are filled, it's nap time. So feed them, burp them, wipe them down, then put them down to sleep. You'll get there.
You see their first tooth pop out, grab their toothbrush. That's right. It's time to brush. Just a grain of rice on the brush is all they'll need. But at this stage of the parental game, fluoride-free is the way to go as they're not old enough to spit out the toothpaste. Be sure to brush twice a day, gently and thoroughly, just like us. Healthy teeth make for happy gums.
While babies love sweet, sugary foods and liquids, so do most people. Sugary foods are a breeding ground for bacteria buildup that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Avoid sugary foods at all costs, and try to opt for soft, cooked carrots, mashed sweet potatoes, and mashed cauliflower. It can provide a little sweetness without the high sugar content.
If their teething stage seems normal, you should take your baby to the dentist by the time they turn 1. Your dentist will examine the health of their teeth and gums, speak to you about general baby oral care, and answer any questions you may have. This could be the dentist you have, or you could opt for a pediatric dentist if you prefer extra or specialized care.
Even before we see their teeth, your baby has their gums. It's the foundation of their oral health. Keeping their gums healthy as your baby grows into a toddler and beyond is the first step to a lifetime of many happy smiles. And that's all any parent could want for their child.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.