Young children are especially vulnerable to cavities, and if you're a parent, you may wonder if baby teeth wipes could help safeguard your child against tooth decay. Before you decide whether or not these wipes are a good fit for your little one, you'll need to understand what they are and what the experts suggest. To help you take the best care of your child's teeth, brief yourself on the function of baby teeth wipes, as well as your other options for implementing good infant oral care.
Teeth wipes are small, saturated, gauze-like pads formulated to help prevent tooth decay. The textbook Dental Caries: Diagnosis, Prevention and Management explains that these wipes are one method of applying antimicrobial agents in the mouth to reduce the amount of harmful oral bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans. Ultimately, the goal of using these wipes is to reduce your baby's risk of early childhood cavities.
There are many varieties of teeth wipes on the market, and they are typically saturated with a xylitol solution. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) describes xylitol as a five-carbon sugar alcohol that is safe for human consumption but is not easily processed by cavity-causing bacteria. Although the AAPD reports that there is a need for further research on the efficacy of xylitol in preventing cavities, it ultimately supports the use of the ingredient.
When it comes to xylitol wipes, some studies have found positive outcomes from using them. For example, a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry (IJCPD) showed a clinically significant decrease in cavity-causing bacteria in a group of children ages 19 to 35 months old whose parents used xylitol teeth wipes to clean their teeth and gums.
The protocol in the IJCPD study was to wipe the child's teeth and gums twice a day with the xylitol wipes. If you do choose to use baby teeth wipes, you should follow the instructions on the product packaging closely or consult your dentist.
If you are looking for ways to prevent tooth decay in your child, wipes may be a good boost to your home care routine for your baby's teeth and gums. That said, always consult your dentist before trying new dental products for yourself or your child.
The American Dental Association advises parents to follow these home care steps to maintain your child's oral health:
- Take your child for their first dental checkup after their first tooth erupts or before they turn one — whichever occurs first.
- Start cleaning your baby's mouth within the first few days after birth by wiping their gums with a clean cloth or gauze.
- Once teeth erupt, you can start to use a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. However, be sure to use no more than a smear (no bigger than a grain of rice) of toothpaste.
If you're concerned about your baby's oral health, talk to your dentist about adding baby teeth wipes to your daily routine and see if they could be a good option for your family.