Congratulations! You just welcomed a new life into the world and started (or continued) your role as a parent. Being a parent means doing your best to tend to your child’s many needs – that includes keeping their mouth healthy, even before their first tooth comes in.
Newborn dental care can be challenging, especially for new parents. So, how do you look after your baby’s dental health? Here are six tips for parents from our pediatric dentistry experts at Kildonan Crossing Dental Centre to start creating healthy patterns for your baby’s oral health.
Breastfeeding is Recommended
We recommend breastfeeding your infant as it helps them develop proper jaw muscles and healthy teeth. Once your child has teeth, make sure they swallow the last mouthful of breast milk or formula before falling asleep – otherwise, it could lead to tooth decay.
Even though we recommend breastfeeding, every parent has to make the right feeding choice for themselves and their child. Your baby can still have great oral health if you follow the rest of our tips.
Wipe Gums Daily
Before your baby’s teeth come in, make sure to wipe their gums with a damp cloth at least twice daily. This gets your baby used to your hands working in their mouth, making it easier for them when you start brushing their teeth.
Hold While Feeding
If you prop a bottle up on a pillow, your baby may not swallow their last mouthful of milk or formula, which can then pool inside their mouth and lead to tooth decay. Holding them while feeding makes it easier for them to swallow and helps them form a habit of doing it.
No Bottles in Bed
For the same reason, you shouldn’t feed your child while they’re lying down, don’t give them a bottle while they’re in their crib unless it’s just water. Bottles can be a choking hazard, so it’s best to keep them away from bedtime.
Don’t Use a Bottle to Comfort
Especially if they’re not hungry, try methods other than a bottle to comfort your baby. They may prefer singing, rocking, soft speaking or skin-to-skin contact. Find strategies that work best for you and your baby.
Take Care of Your Teeth
Your dental health is just as important as your baby’s for a couple of reasons.
First, if you model good oral behaviour throughout their infancy and childhood, it’s more likely they’ll continue that behaviour once they’re older and more independent.
Also, babies aren’t born with the bacteria that causes oral decay – they pick it up from caregivers and older children through sharing food, kissing and other close contact. Taking care of your teeth will help protect your baby from that bacteria a bit longer.
If this seems overwhelming while juggling the million other things that come with having a newborn, try not to stress yourself out too much. As long as you’re putting a conscious effort into newborn dental care, that’s a step in the right direction.
If you have any questions about infant oral care or want to talk to a dentist, call Kildonan Crossing Dental Centre to book an appointment today. We recommend bringing them in for their first consultation within six months after their first tooth erupts or once they turn a year old.
We can’t wait to see you at your next dental appointment! If you’ve never been to our clinic before, we can schedule you for your first consultation - we are always accepting new patients.