The Importance of Gum Health for Your Child
Ensuring your child has a healthy mouth and healthy teeth starts before the first teeth erupt into the mouth.
Healthy oral health habits will prevent or reduce the risk of dental caries (tooth decay) in children and should begin with keeping your child’s gums healthy from birth. Although your child is only consuming breast milk, formula milk or water for the first few months, and these are all incredibly important sources of nutrients and health for your child, milk still contains natural sugars which can influence the bacteria in the mouth towards tooth decay.
Keeping the gums clean
Cleaning the gums twice a day is sufficient whilst your baby is still only on liquids. Once your baby starts eating solids with his or her gum pads, more regular cleaning of the gums can be repeated after each meal. At this stage, gum care can ensure that the environment in the mouth does not tip towards one with a high count of cariogenic (decay producing) bacteria. Regularly and gently cleaning your baby’s teeth with dental wipes or a damp washcloth with help reduce the number of bacteria in your baby’s mouth.
Healthy gums reduce the risk of gum inflammation
When gums are inflamed, they can be tender or painful and this can make teething more uncomfortable. A cold dental wipe or washcloth can help ease any discomfort from teething. As you are cleaning your baby’s gums, you will also be able to check the gums and tongue for any unusual patches or changes in appearance which may alert you to the need to visit a dentist. Early oral hygiene will also help your baby become used to dental care and feel more confident with brushing once the teeth start to erupt. Once your baby’s teeth start to erupt, you should use a smear of Fluoride toothpaste twice a day using a small toothbrush. Be sure to keep brushing the gums and not only the teeth to keep up with your baby’s gum health.