Due to certain misconceptions, oral health and hygiene for babies is an aspect that’s often overlooked. Read on to uncover what’s fact and what’s fiction…
Note: The article has been updated for accuracy.
As adults, we all understand the importance of maintaining good oral health and hygiene. But does this apply to babies as well? After all, the littlest ones are on a milk-only diet; while we keep the slightly older ones on a no-sugar and no-sodium diet. Their teeth (or lack thereof) shouldn’t be dirty, right?
Unfortunately, dear parents, that’s a very common misconception. And we’re here to debunk that as well as several other common myths about baby oral care.
Myths about baby oral care
Myth #1: You don’t really need to worry about baby oral hygiene before they get their first teeth.
On the contrary, HealthHub advises parents to start caring for their child’s oral health and hygiene from infancy. That’s way before they get their first teeth. Start by using a clean muslin cloth or gauze to clean your baby’s gums daily. This will help them get used to the routine, making it easier to transition to fingerbrushes and baby toothbrushes when their first tooth appears.
Pro-tip: When the time for using fingerbrushes come, be sure to choose one with soft bristles like Oral7’s baby fingerbrush. Soft bristles are ideal for gentle gum massages, which can greatly relief your child’s teething pains when they’re teething. Plus, Oral7’s baby fingerbrush is BPA-free – no nasties here!
Myth #2: But baby teeth don’t matter since they’ll fall out anyway.
While it’s true that your child will eventually lose their baby teeth (also called primary teeth), it doesn’t mean that they’re not important. Not taking care of your child’s primary teeth may lead to tooth decay. When this happens, your child may be at risk of losing their primary teeth too early. This can lead to damage to their permanent teeth, or crowding and shifting teeth.
Myth #3: I don’t feed my baby any sugary food, so skipping teeth brushing once in a while is fine.
High risk dietary habits can cause early childhood caries (or tooth decay) – excessive consumption of sugary food is just one of these habits. According to the Pediatric Dentistry Unit of the National Dental Centre Singapore, breastfeeding without oral care and falling asleep while drinking formula are also high risk dietary habits. The remaining liquid will pool in your child’s mouth, making it a perfect breeding ground for bacteria that will harm your child’s teeth. So even if you don’t feed your child juices or sugary food, you should still clean their gum and brush their teeth to prevent early childhood caries.
Pro-tip: For bub’s first toothpaste, it’s best to go for something gentle like Oral7’s baby toothpaste. This is a gentle toothpaste that’s formulated with natural protective enzymes — ones that are naturally found in mother’s milk! Not only do these enzymes protect your baby’s teeth from germs that causes tooth decay, they also strengthen their mouth’s natural defence.
Myth #4: My toddler doesn’t need to have regular dental checkups as long as I brush their teeth daily. They’re still too young.
HealthHub actually recommends parents start bringing their child for regular dental checkups when they turn one. Not only can your dentist help care for and spot early signs of dental issues, but they can also advise you on the appropriate ways to use toothbrushes and toothpaste for your child as they grow.
Myth #5: I should get my kids high-fluoride toothpaste as it strengthens teeth.
Yes, fluoride is effective in strengthening teeth and protecting them from decay. However, swallowing too much while teeth-brushing (as young kids are prone to do) can lead to fluorosis. This is a condition that affects your child’s teeth colour (chalky white or brown spots) and structure. HealthHub states that toothpaste that contains 1,000ppm fluoride is good enough to prevent tooth decay. As every child’s needs may be different, it’s best to consult your dentist on the best toothpaste option for your child.
Pro-tip: If you’re worried about fluorosis for your little one who’s below three and unable to spit on their own, you can explore using fluoride-free toothpaste with your dentist’s recommendation. Oral7’s Baby Toothpaste is fluoride free (safe to swallow!) and has an enzymatic formulation that offers natural antimicrobial properties to protect your child’s teeth and keep tooth decay causing bacteria at bay. Once your baby is able to spit on their own, they can graduate to Oral7 Kids Toothpaste, formulated with the same natural enzymes and the recommended 1,000ppm of fluoride to strengthen your big kid’s teeth.
What you can do to protect your baby’s teeth and oral health
Prevention starts at home, and it starts young. You can start by cleaning your newborn’s gums daily with a wet muslin cloth or gauze, before progressing to using a soft fingerbrush and baby-safe toothpaste when they turn three months old.
Oral7‘s baby toothpaste is free from fluoride, sugar, as well as artificial colouring and detergent. It protects the little ones’ teeth through natural enzymes and proteins (lactoperoxidase, lysozyme, and lactoferrin), all of which can be found in a mother’s breastmilk – we love! These enzymes and proteins work together to protect your baby from a wide range of bacteria, viruses, and harmful microbes. And since it’s fluoride and sugar-free, you don’t need to panic if your baby accidentally swallows it.
Once your kiddos reach preschool age, they can graduate from Oral7’s Baby Toothpaste to its KIDS Toothpaste. Suitable for kids aged four to 12, this toothpaste is also made using the same natural enzymes as Oral7’s Baby Toothpaste, with the recommended 1,000ppm fluoride to strengthen your big kid’s teeth.
All you need is just a small amount of baby toothpaste, coupled with gentle brushing with a soft fingerbrush, to start protecting your little one’s pearly whites. As they say, a little goes a long way.
You can find Oral7’s Baby and KIDS Toothpaste in your nearest pharmacy and independent stores (Grace Healthcare, NHG Pharmacy, Nishino Pharmacy, Vitakids, Watsons, Woods Pharmacy) or purchase them online here.
This post is in partnership with Oral7.