The earlier you start
caring for your baby's future teeth the better. There are a few simple things
that will avoid cavities once the teeth appear:
Try not to put a baby to sleep with a bottle in the mouth.
Wipe the baby's mouth and gums with a clean, wet and soft cloth
or gauze; you don't need toothpaste at this point. This will prevent bacteria
from clinging to the baby's gums. These bacteria can leave a plaque that can
damage infant teeth as they erupt.
Usually babies get their first tooth between 6 - 8 months,
though some babies have been known to get their first teeth as early as 4
Gently wipe with a soft cloth when you find teeth erupting to
clean them. You can use a soft brush with a small head and a large handle.
As baby teeth develop - a small amount of fluoride -will be
beneficial as this mineral prevents tooth decay and strengthens tooth enamel at
the same time. Use only a small smear of toothpaste as too much can lead to
Brush the inside and outside of the baby teeth to dislodge any
bacteria present, do this twice a day.
According to experts your baby should see a dentist in the first
year as you can get useful advice on teething, fluoride, thumb sucking and
Teething is painful and uncomfortable for babies and they fuss
and cry for days before each baby tooth erupts. Some of the symptoms of
teething include swollen gums, drooling and fever.
Babies can be given a clean and cool teething ring which is not
too small - to swallow. A baby derives a lot of comfort when you rub the
swollen gums with a clean finger.
Avoid giving the infant fruit juices, sodas or any kind of
sugary drinks as these can lead to tooth decay. A bacterium feeds on sugar and
produces acid which attacks teeth.
Mothers are aware that a gentle brushing of baby teeth is
initiated when the first tooth sprouts- at about 6 months, though scientists
urge parents to take care of the gums earlier as there is a lot of bacteria
present- even in a baby's mouth.
'Like many other diseases, dental cavities are a result of many
bacteria in a community, not just one pathogen,' Prof Swanson said, in a study
conducted by the University of Illinois.
He added: 'We now recognize that the 'window of infectivity,'
which was thought to occur between 19 and 33 months of age years ago, really
occurs at a much younger age.'
'Having a drink of juice
from a cup in one sitting is better than sucking it over several hours from a
bottle or carton because the mouth releases acid that causes decay for about 20
minutes after each sugar-eating episode.'