The joy of a new parent knows no bounds but the status comes with many new responsibilities. One of these is making the right health decision for the baby, including oral health.
Many parents wonder how early they should start cleaning the new baby’s mouth. Some argue that there is no need to wash a baby’s mouth until they start growing teeth.
Addressing this issue, the Nigerian Dental Association in an educational tweet on its Twitter handle, @nigdental, advised parents to clean the mouth of newborns after every meal, even before they start growing teeth.
“Though your baby do not have teeth, you should still clean his or her mouth,” it stated.
It said it is important to care for the child’s teeth and dental (oral) health from birth to prevent or reduce tooth decay (cavities) in infants and children.
It said parents need not worry when the baby fusses at first: it will get used to having the mouth cleaned like other parts of the body.
Also, ways of taking care of a child’s dental health vary according to their age.
Here are some of the tips shared by NDA on how to care for your baby’s oral health
1. Wash your hands thoroughly and make sure they are clean.
2. Take a small piece of clean gauze or clean cloth and wrap it around your finger.
3. Moisten the piece of gauze or cloth, using warm water alone (no need to add anything to the water).
4. Gently open the baby’s mouth and rub the tongue surface in a circular gentle motion.
5. After cleaning the tongue, do the same for the gums and the inner cheeks.
6. Check to see that the mouth is clean.
If there is a presence of whitish coating that refuses to come off after thorough cleaning, please consult your doctor.
The educational tweets advised that when the child gets to around two months of age, that parents can change the gauze used in cleaning the mouth to a soft finger brush to do the cleaning. This can be continued until the child reaches six months.
Between the ages of six to eight months, the baby is expected to have the first tooth, this also depends on the child because some babies get their teeth out late.
However the case, it is important to care for its teeth right from the start.
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