Like the majority of people, you may expect that oral hygiene becomes important only when an infant starts to get his or her baby teeth. No teeth, no worries? Wrong. Oral hygiene should actually begin shortly after a baby is born!

Are you a soon-to-be mother or father? Maybe you have a friend who is starting a family in the future or a neighbor with a newborn. Whatever the case, please take a moment to educate yourself on dental care for infants.

Pre-teething Stage

After every feeding, use a clean and warm washcloth to gently clean the oral cavity. Wipe the baby’s gum tissue and inside the lips.

Constant sucking during feeding can cause minuscule tears in an infant’s mouth. If these tears are not kept clean, the moist environment of the mouth may promote a fungal infection, known as Thrush, to develop. Signs of thrush include white patches and pain upon feeding.

Teething Stage

Teething may begin when an infant is as young as 3 months old but typically begins at 6 months old. Teething signs may include:

  •       Excessive drooling 
  •       Irritability
  •       “Gumming” or biting
  •       Decreased appetite

According to the American Dental Association, diarrhea, rashes and fever are not normal for a teething baby. If your infant has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky, the ADA suggests calling your physician. Use a clean and cool washcloth or teething ring to gently massage the gums. Always supervise an infant when using a teething ring because of the potential choking hazard. Check out this neat idea for DYI frozen pacifiers!

Did You Know? One in every 2,000 babies is born with one or more teeth.

Wondering which baby teeth arrive when? Take a look at the baby tooth eruption chart below and check out the printable and simplified version here!