ORAL CARE FOR NEWBORN
Caries is one of the most infectious diseases and as we all know oral hygiene of an infant should be initiated as early as possible. Now, the question arises why do I need to clean my baby’s mouth before teeth erupts…? Child dental care begins in his/her mother womb as baby teeth formation begins before birth.
Oral cavity is sterile before birth but as infant passes through the birth canal he/she is exposed to wide variety of microorganism. Mode of delivery plays a very important role. If mode of delivery is vaginal, child is exposed to bacteria’s present in mother’s vagina where as during cesarean section (C- section) child comes in contact of intestinal bacteria. So, presence of various bacteria’s makes cleaning of oral cavity necessary. Infants generally fall asleep during feeding which leads to accumulation of milk in mouth for a longer period of time which possibly leads to caries so, don’t forget to wipe the baby gums after every feed. Child should be assessed every 6 months of age.
How to maintain oral hygiene of your new born?
Various measures are available to clean oral cavity of a new born.
- Most common n simple method is to use a gauze piece or a soft cotton cloth, roll it with your index finger and dip in Luke warm water, make baby to lay down with his/her head in lap and feet pointing away and then gently clean baby’s gums and tongue.
- Tooth and gum wipes can be used
- Silicon gum cleaner
It is not advisable to use toothpastes for newborns as the lack the ability to expectorate. As teeth erupt soft gentle tooth brush can be used.
Bacteria named as mutans is found in oral cavity as soon as the first tooth erupts i.e. 6 to 7 months of age and these are the culprits causing caries. Transmission of these bacteria occur by care givers and specially mother. Practices such as kissing child on lip, sharing same spoon and food should be avoided. Dental caries is infectious but it can be prevented by regular assessment, healthy diet and proper oral hygiene.
Change is hard at the beginning, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end so, lets take baby steps towards healthy smile!