Baby's First Teeth and Nutrition

Baby's First Teeth and Nutrition

Baby's First Teeth and Nutrition

Baby Oral Care and Food

When choosing the right foods and snacks for your child, it is important to consider the following: type of food, frequency eaten, duration in the mouth. Ideally, when feeding your child, it is recommended to choose foods that are low in sugar and avoid foods with high amounts of sugar that would sit in the mouth for long periods of time.

Terrilyn Franklin is a registered dental hygienist and also the co-founder of Little Kaktus Co, a subscription box company catered towards mothers and their little ones. You can subscribe to a quarterly, annual subscription, or browse through their limited edition shop for one time purchase items! Terrilyn had some amazing insights regarding baby’s oral care and foods for baby. Read below for more information on this:

As a registered dental hygienist, I get tons of questions from parents on how to care for their baby's teeth, but to their surprise, oral care starts before the first tooth pops out! Here is a quick guide on the basics of oral hygiene and your child.

1) Infancy

Breast milk and formula have natural sugars that can cause early childhood cavities. However, it can also cause thrush (basically a yeast infection) in an infants mouth because of their underdeveloped immune systems. It is recommended to take a soft cloth moistened by warm water and gently wipe your infants mouth (gums and tongue) after each feeding or at least once a day.

2) First Teeth

As the first teeth start to appear, it is encouraged to begin brushing the teeth with a silicone finger brush, warm wet soft cloth, or soft baby toothbrush. This will help clean away any milk or food left on the teeth. I often get asked which type of toothpaste is recommended. There are various brands that have beginning stage toothpastes like GUM brand, Oral B, Oragel but all contain no fluoride. Instead they have xylitol, a natural sugar, which has been shown to reduce bacteria that causes cavities. Use a small rice grain size of paste to brush the entire mouth (including the tongue!).

Once your baby is older, and if you do not have fluoride in your drinking water (it depends on the province, BC does not), you can use a kids fluoride toothpaste. Use a small rice grain amount or smaller to brush their teeth. Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents early tooth decay. It is recommended to use a small amount because babies aren't able to spit out the ingredients effectively and may cause a little stomach upset if ingested. If your baby's teeth are touching, flossing is important to remove food and bacteria in-between the teeth. Your baby's first dental visit should be at the age of one year.

3) Nutrition and Early Childhood Decay

When choosing the right foods and snacks for your child, it is important to consider the following: type of food, frequency eaten, duration in the mouth. Ideally, when feeding your child, it is recommended to choose foods that are low in sugar and avoid foods with high amounts of sugar that would sit in the mouth for long periods of time.

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For example, when comparing a fruit or vegetable as a snack compared to a peanut butter and jam sandwich, the PB&J will have a higher likelihood of causing cavities. The vegetable or fruit would have natural sugar but generally it rinses out of the mouth quickly. A PB&J is sticky, has sugar from both the bread and jam and is likely to sit between teeth longer. Because the sandwich is sitting between the teeth for a longer period of time, sugar is being continually released onto the teeth creating a higher risk of dental decay.

Choose crunchy vegetables and fruits that have high water content such as apples, cucumber, carrots, and celery. These fruits and vegetables are low in natural sugar and act as bristles to help remove debris on your little one’s teeth. They are also convenient to pack as snacks and are nutritious! Consumption of highly acidic fruits such as bananas, oranges, blueberries, pineapples too often can also be hard on your child's teeth due to its acidity. Although these are great foods for nutrition, it is important to not continuously snack on them throughout the day. If possible, try to wipe or brush your child teeth 20-30 minutes after eating sugary food.

 

To sum things up, we're all parents trying our best! Just remember to try to adopt good oral hygiene habits early for your child so they can be successful in maintaining good oral health in the long run! To find more information visit here .

Terrilyn Franklin

BDSDH, DipDH, RDH