- Written by by Queen Munguti for Kenyakidz
Cleaning a young baby’s mouth is as important as it is for an adult to brush their mouth every day.
“The parent can start cleaning their baby’s mouth as soon as possible even days after birth,” said Dr. Ober, a dentist at a Nairobi hospital. “For newborns, it is not really important to clean them because the mouth is self cleaning but it is of paramount once they start teething because they are still breast feeding and the milk is sweet and chances are they have also already started eating solid foods.”
According to an article titled Breastfeeding after your baby gets teeth on the website healthy children.org, once a baby's teeth start’s teething, they are susceptible to baby-bottle tooth decay, which causes dental cavities.
The major cause of baby-bottle decay is the teeth being coated in any liquid other than water for long periods, it mostly occurs when babies fall asleep while nursing with ‘unswallowed’ milk in their mouths. It can also be caused when the baby drinks sugary liquids.
“Cleaning a baby mouth is a gradual process,” said Dr. Ober. “The first step is by using a cloth and warm water then when they start teething, the parent can introduce the use of a soft tooth brush without tooth paste. Later, the baby can graduate to the use of a toothbrush with a smear of toothpaste.
“The toothpaste should be as little as possible because there is the risk that the baby may swallow it which can cause harm to them because of the chemical fluoride found in it.”
However, Dr. Ober notes that not cleaning a baby’s mouth before they start teething will not lead to infections what may lead to infections is cleaning the baby’s mouth with dirty hands.