It is important to care for the oral health of the baby right from birth. Dental care is not only for adults it is for infants too since good dental care prevents having any oral and gum diseases in the future. Read below to know more about the importance and how to provide dental care to your baby.

Why is dental care important for babies?
         Babies are more prone to have cavities in their teeth compared to adults. The breastmilk, the food that the baby eats, and even the medication given to your baby have sugar content in them. This sugar increases the number of harmful bacteria in the teeth which causes cavities. If cavities are left untreated without any care it leads to tooth decay. Tooth decay in turn causes problems such as pain, an infection that affects the whole body, makes activities such as talking, eating, and chewing difficult, and also harms the permanent teeth which are yet to come.

How do you care for the teeth of the baby?
1. Brushing - Begin by using a small soft toothbrush and brush in a circular motion both front and back and on sides. Avoid using the brush against your teeth back and forth since it can hurt the gums and teeth. Don’t forget to brush the tongue also. You can start using fluoride-based toothpaste as soon as the first teeth come out. Use toothpaste the size of grain for brushing.

2. Cleaning - After every feed, it is important to clean the baby’s mouth. While wiping the baby’s mouth don’t use your fingers instead use a clean soft cloth. Dip the cloth into the water, wrap it around your index finger and gently wipe the baby’s teeth and gums.

3. Feeding - Use the bottle for breastfeeding only. Don’t use it as a pacifier. It is better to feed the baby via a cup rather than a bottle. If the baby falls asleep while breastfeeding, remove the baby’s mouth from the breast. Once the baby’s first tooth appears, avoid feeding the baby frequently and feed only on demand. Don't give sugar, honey, or juice to the baby. Only feed them with breastmilk or formula. Do not share the baby’s utensils such as spoons or bottles or cups. Clean the pacifier well before placing it in the baby’s mouth.

4. Check your baby regularly - Be familiar with how your baby’s gums and teeth usually look. Regularly lift your infant's lip to check if there are any abnormal white or brown spots (it indicates tooth decay). If so, take your baby to the dentist without any delay. 

What is the right time to start taking your infant to the dentist?
         You should schedule the first visit with the dentist within six months after the first tooth comes. And the next visit has to be done at the age of one. According to research, children who visited the dentist for the first time between the ages of 2 to 5 had 21 percent higher chances of having cavities and tooth decay compared to the infants who visited the dentist at an earlier stage