3 Oral Hygiene Hacks for You and Your Baby
Thank you to the American Dental Association for partnering with me on this post.
February is Children’s Dental Health month, so I’ve been working with some incredible dental professionals to raise awareness and share tips on taking care of baby’s teeth and gums. Oral hygiene is an important part of our health, and it starts before we even have our baby teeth.
THE BACK STORY
When I was growing up, my parents didn’t have the right resources and education for proper oral hygiene. Of course, they told us to brush our teeth every day, but that was about it. Dentist appointments were scary and stressful, and I always had 6+ cavities that needed to be filled.
By the time I was eleven years old, I had a full set of braces and headgear, and I still didn’t understand the importance of taking care of my teeth. All that metal sat on my teeth until I was 20 years old, and then I finally got my braces off. The needles, the x-rays, the cavities, the extractions, the root canals. If anyone understands the misery that accompanies bad oral care, it’s me.
CHANGING THE PATTERN
I decided that when I had my own babies, I would do more research and be proactive about their care.
One of my favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou: Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
Now that we know how important it is to care for our mouth and teeth, we need to take the time to actually do the work.
ORAL HYGEINE HACKS FOR YOU AND BABY
These hacks are brought to you by Great Expressions Dental Centers. They are useful for everyone in the family, but they are essential to put into practice for your children before they even have their baby teeth. After we cover the oral hygiene backs, I’ll tell you all about our personal routine at home.
3 LIFE HACKS EVERY PARENT SHOULD FOLLOW TO PREVENT DENTAL CAVITIES IN CHILDREN:
Keep gums clean beginning with newborns.
Your child may not even have teeth yet, but it’s critical to keep gums healthy for proper development of future teeth. Gently wipe the gums with a clean baby washcloth and gently brush with a soft baby toothbrush once you see the first tooth. For older children, use a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush teeth.
This common mistake not only overloads your child’s teeth with sugar, it also increases their chances of choking. Instead, provide your child with a bottle prior to putting them to sleep and wiping their teeth with a soft baby toothbrush before their head hits the pillow. For older children, make sure they avoid sugary drinks like soda or juice packs right before bedtime.
Prevent fear of the dentist.
It’s recommended that children visit the dentist twice a year to keep teeth as healthy as possible. Because many children fear the dentist, it’s important for parents to make the process stress-free for their kids. We recommend using music, a favorite stuffed animal and educating children on dental visits with a children’s book prior to the visit. Doing this from an early age will minimize, if not eliminate stress, ultimately making trips to the dentist less stressful for the remainder of their lives.
OUR ROUTINE FOR ORAL CARE
I have a two-year-old with a mouth full of baby teeth and a six-month-old that is allll gums…we call him gummy bear haha. Like I said in my intro, I have a history of dental issues, so preventative care is super important to me.
Every morning, as soon as my babies wake up, we all brush our teeth together. We use Tom’s toothpaste and these Doctor Plotka’s anti-microbial toothbrushes. First, I brush my toddler’s teeth for her, and then I put a little more toothpaste onto her brush and let her “practice” brushing herself. She loves to sit and brush her teeth like mommy does. My baby just sits and chomps on his toothbrush to ease his gums.
I love these toothbrushes for three reasons:
- They are infused with silver to naturally eliminate 99.9% of bacteria that grows on the bristles between uses.
- The dual-layer bristle structure cleans deep between teeth where most cavities form. This is extra helpful for toddlers that don’t know how to floss yet.
- They were developed by a real dentist with over 40 years of experience in this field.
We follow the same routine in the evening. Before bed, we all brush our teeth together and we don’t have anything to eat or drink (except water) after brushing our teeth. My baby still wakes up to nurse at least once each night, so I feed him and then wipe his gums before we fall back asleep. It takes some getting used to, but the practice of good oral hygiene is more important than any convenience.
Because of my own painful history with dental issues, I figured I should do my part for Children’s Dental Health Month and lecture you guys on this fun stuff. *Wink wink*
I definitely recommend writing down these oral hygiene hacks and pasting them up next to the bathroom sink as a reminder for you and your kiddos. Buy yourself a great toothbrush like these. They do a great deep clean and they last longer than your average toothbrush. You’re “technically” supposed to replace your toothbrush every 3 months, but because of the anti-bacterial properties of Dr. Plotkas, they last at least a month longer than the average toothbrush.