Monday, 9 September 2013

Dental care calling for infants and early toddlers

As you all would have known by now, my posts on this page are exclusively inspired by chit-chats with my friends who all are sailing in the same boat. But this post is for my special friend, with whom I can associate the most. With whom I have discussed tooth fairy and pimples. We have exchanged our views and opinions on all most every topic under the sun. Be it mango's latest fashion handbag or latest link-ups in town or how to change baby's diapers on the go. This time my viber was ringing for dental care. She was very keen on knowing about how did I started brushing teeth for ‘Erishka’. She further informed that she has already bought the finger brush for her little one, but still confused on how to start and what is the right age to got little one start brushing. So here are few of my experience which I want to share with her.

How do I take care of my baby's teeth?

When she asked me this question, my mind immediately rushed to the conversation which I had 7 months back with my mother. Just like typical mother, she was was constantly asking me certain questions on regular basis like whether I clean ‘Erishka’s tongue regularly or not? Did i teach her how to gargle? Hope you aren’t making her asleep while breast feeding her or with the bottle in her mouth? And the list was endless.

Just like any daughter, once for all I sternly asked her, whats wrong with you? Why are you asking me such irrelevant questions. Does it make sense, Erishka has not even sprouted one tooth yet and you are annoying me with such stupid question. Just like any daughter, once for all I sternly asked her, whats wrong with you? Why are you asking me such irrelevant questions.

Once she replied to my rapid questions I was stunned that it was so stupid of me to question her back. And I re-affirmed that 'Mothers are always right'.

When she asked me about tongue cleaning routine, she meant ….

When she was checking on me taking care of tongue cleaning routine for Erishka, she was highly concerned about my daughter's oral care. Yes, even i was surprised to hear that from her. She further said that I should clean her tongue (with wash cloth, dipped in warm water) once in a day (Spl during  bath time) so that the oral hygiene is maintain and it will prevent future dental issues for her.

This reminded me off the conversation I had with my Prediction, where it strictly asked me not to feed her for pacifying, and do not make a habit make her sleep while feeding or with the bottle within.

He further said good oral care starts from the very beginning of your child's life. Even before her first tooth is sprouted. And long stayed food material (breastmilk/formula) inside your child’s mouth can affect their future appearance and health of their teeth. Since baby teeth usually emerge around 5-6 months of age, they do not require to do brushing teeth but good oral hygiene has to be maintained.

When my mom asked me, “Hope you aren’t making her asleep while breast feeding her or with the bottle in her mouth?”

She actually wanted to warn about the bottle decay. "She said bottle decay is caused by continuous contact, over time, to liquids containing sugars (i.e. milk, formula, and fruit juices). When your baby sleeps, her gums/teeth gets coated with these sugary liquids and which leads to cavities”. She further stated, “For this reason, you shouldn't let your baby fall asleep with a bottle of juice or milk in her mouth. 

And If you are breast-feeding her in night times, avoid letting the baby nurse continuously. And after each feeding, wipe her teeth/gums with a clean, damp washcloth.”  So after so much of gyan session by my mother I decided not to overlook her oral/dental care although there are no visible teeth in her mouth. 

So how did I got started with dental care for Erishka

From 3 months to 4 months

During bath time I followed the routine of cleaning , wiping her tongue with washcloth (dipped in warm drinking water).

 From 5 months to 7 months

Continued the bathtime routine. Also she started teething by then, so i bought tiny cute finger brush for her. Which was double sided too, one side had bristle alike silicone grass, the other had embossed small balls. I used to rub her emerged tooth with the bristles alike side and rub-massaged her sore gums with the other side. she used to feel much relaxed. I also bought a pacifier to soothe her teething but she refused and used to just blow it away from her mouth.

From the 8 months onwards

As I could see 4 white pearls by then, i bought soft and sturdy Pigeon brush. Which very much looked like our tooth brush, but with semi soft pointers of rubber silicone. She was very receptive to this, as she love putting it in her mouth every now and then. I used to sterilise it just like any other feeding utensils.

 Just like any other infant she also had teething troubles like she was bit cranky, irritable, fussy, her gums were hard and pointed. She also suffered from infections rashes and diarrhoea.

We made regular visits to her doctor during those days as she used to get fever very often. By rubbing the gum with a clean finger, a small cool spoon or a cool wet cloth can soothe her weaning. We also bought few teethers so that she can chew it for pain relief.

 We also asked pediatrician about any medicine for pain-relief, but he did not prescribed any. Though my mom, kept on saying that there are some gels and powder available for easy teething. We stuck to the diet and pain-relief strategies given by her pediatrician.

From 13 months onwards
I introduces pink tooth brush to her, for which she was very excited. she does it with me as she love imitating me. My mom had also taught her how to do gargle but some now she happens to forget it. My mom used keep a bottle of boiled and cooled water during bath time. And she use to insist my doll to do as alike what my mom was doing. while imitating my mom she had learned to do gargle but due to my negligence for this gargle activity, she happens to forget. I really need to keep this in my bathtime check-list.

 Diet for dental care

There are certain foods which are more likely to cause tooth decay. Of course they are one which are loved by our little ones; sticky and sugary.

 A child’s diet plays very important role in oral hygiene and dental care. Please do not overdo sugary food items like peanut butter, candies, jelly, packed juice, pasta, bread, biscuits as these all can contribute to tooth decay.

 Even slowly sucked candies, slowly consumed juice in nursing bottle and fruit chewables also contribute to tooth decay. Bottle and breast-fed babies, babies left with bottle or nursed for prolonged hours especially in night are more prone to dental problems in future.

 You may do some changes in cooking method like preparing dessert for your little ones, you may substitute it with granulated brown sugar or jaggery and also avoid sticky food in her meal. And also ensure that starchy and sugary food are served during meal times only so that regular gargle with drinking warm water is done timely.

I hope this article would help all those mommies who are struggling to introduce dental care routine for their babies.

Healthy eating, happy brushing and keep smiling!
With love,

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