Baby's First Year: The Top Three Tips For Infant Oral Health
When I was asked a few weeks ago what I knew about infant oral care, the answer was almost nothing. As a new mom that answer was extremely concerning to me. With how important oral care is, I was shocked that I knew almost nothing on how to take care of Giulian's oral health in his first year of life. You would think that'd be Mommy 101 right?! So, when I was approached with the opportunity to work with Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation's Cavities Get Around Campaign to help spread awareness on infant oral care and to help eradicate childhood tooth decay, I saw that as the perfect opportunity for myself to learn all that I need to know to make sure Giulian has a good start to his oral health.
Giulian is currently teething, so I am learning all of this just in time. He is just under five months old and already in the process of getting his first pearly white. The Cavities Get Around Campaign has come up with the "Big Three", three simple steps we can take as parents to make sure that our little ones are set up for the future when it comes to their oral health. I'm so grateful I am learning all of this now so that I can apply it all. They're such simple things, but it can make a huge difference. Making that little extra effort on our part will save us a ton of stress and a ton of dentist bills in the future.
The Big Three Of Infant Oral Care
1. DRINK LESS JUICE
This is something I was aware of, juice is sugar and sugar rots teeth. But what I didn't realize was that this can affect your teeth later in life. The sugar in juice or any other sugary beverage just sits on teeth and eats through the enamel, which then causes cavities. Last time I went to the dentist I had a few cavities, and the first thing they asked me was if I was drinking sugary drinks like soda or lattes throughout the day and not brushing right after. In fact I was, I would brush my teeth in the morning and at night before bed, but during the day when I would be sipping on my vanilla latte, that was playing part in creating those cavities. So, this tip is a great one for any person from infant to old age.
Drinking only water at bedtime can help a ton with this. Many parents will let their little ones fall asleep with a juice, milk or formula bottle, not realizing that it can cause baby bottle tooth decay. Instead, offer water as a nighttime drink. As a parent, you create the child's routine, so you can help them get used to having water at bed instead of a sugary drink. I'm so glad I am thinking about this now, especially because I currently put Giulian to bed right after nursing him or after a formula bottle. Now I can switch up his routine a bit, make sure to wipe down his gums or brush his sweet little baby teeth and then put him to bed.
2. DRINK MORE WATER
Of course there is sugar in things we eat too, not just what we drink, so drinking a lot of water is helpful because it will wash the sugar off of the teeth. Choosing water over other beverages is not only great for our little one's oral health, but it's great for their overall health. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that infants do not drink juice at all in their first year of life. I'm on board with that suggestion and I think it's a wise choice. I am going to do my best with Giulian to not give him juice within his first year of life, limiting it throughout his life, and encouraging him to drink a lot of water. These are such simple steps, but like most things in life, what is easy to do is also easy not to do. I'm going to make that extra effort and put this on high priority since it's such a simple task that can make a huge difference in his life.
3. Know why BABY TEETH MATTER
Baby teeth matter! I'm sure I am not the only mommy in the world who wasn't aware of this, right?! This fact is one of the main reasons I was excited to partner with the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, because I figured if I did not know this then many other parents probably don't either. Since it is so important for our children's oral health, spreading awareness of this fact is so crucial. My perception was that because baby teeth fall out, the care of them doesn't matter. Like I said, I was wrong and baby teeth do actually matter and cavities can pass from baby teeth to adult teeth. Something else the foundation taught me is that oral health has an impact on the overall health of the whole body. It can even impact learning; the leading cause of kids missing school in Colorado is from dental decay diseases.
It's such a shocker to me that how I take care of Giulian's gums and baby teeth now can impact his entire life. I'm so grateful I am finding all of this out now instead of when he is a few years old and already in a bad oral health routine. Giulian is four + months old and I am already starting to take action to insure his oral health is heading in the right direction. I am wiping down his gums multiple times a day, and when his baby teeth come in I will make sure to keep them clean by brushing them with an infant toothbrush and infant toothpaste, and I will veto the juice for his first year of life. As a parent, we want to do everything we can to create a strong future for our little ones, so I hope you found this information as helpful and valuable as I did.
This post is sponsored by Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation.