It’s never to early to start introducing great oral health and hygiene habits! We think so anyway, which is why we have developed our Babycup First Cup to be the perfect drinking solution for little mouths and all their growing needs. And we’re not alone. As you might imagine, dental professionals all over the world are keen to spread the same message and although many of them spend their entire careers doing just that, February is one month in particular where dental health (particularly children’s dental health) gets its time in the spotlight.
February 1st marked the beginning of National Children’s Dental Health Month here in the US and this year, the American Dental Association is asking people to “Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile” – something we can totally get behind!
There are many ways you can ensure your whole family are in good dental health, but when it comes to the little ones there are a few extras things to consider aside from twice-daily brushing and flossing. Starting from their before their first tooth even pops through, it’s up to you, mom and dad, to build a strong smile. Here are some tips to help you out…
Gums Need Dental Care Too…
You don’t have to wait for teeth to come in to start a good dental routine. Gums need cleaning too once your baby starts on solid food. Leave the toothbrush for later, right now, a clean, wet washcloth will do or a rubber finger brush. Doing this will help to remove any food from the gums and will also make toothbrushing an easier process once those teeth do come in. As an added bonus, this can help soothe sore gums too.
New Toothbrush Time!
If your toothbrushes are more than 3 months old, it’s time for new ones! The official advice from the ADA is to replace toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months, or sooner if bristles are frayed before then. You can make this a fun activity for National Children’s Dental Health Month (and may even find that it makes the whole process of brushing a toddler’s teeth a little easier!) by getting your baby to help pick out their own toothbrush. There are so many to choose from, with many featuring favourite TV and book characters and some that even play music and have flashing lights!
Schedule Regular Check-ups
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should receive their first dental exam around age 1 or when the first tooth appears. There’s no harm in a quick check up and making this a regular thing from the word go (every 6 months is about right) will mean the dentist’s chair isn’t a scary place in later years. Book yours for National Children’s Dental Health Month!
Steer Clear of Sippy Cups
Spouts, valves, no-spill seals, sippy cups and other kinds of drink receptacle that requires a sucking motion to get to the liquid inside is most definitely not ideal for being oral health friendly. This is where our Babycup First Cup comes in. We’ve designed our little cups to be the ideal size for a baby’s hands and mouth (infants can milk-feed and then from 4 months you can start sipping practise and then for drinks alongside solid-feeding from 6 months – 2.5 years+), so using them is easy! Drinking from a cup (particularly one that is created specifically for our tiny people) is an essential oral health habit that many parents may be unaware of, but is easily started once you have this knowledge and can get sipping. Read more about what the experts have to say here.
Aside from brushing and flossing, diet is naturally a huge factor in tooth health during National Children’s Dental Health Month and beyond. It’s not just refined sugar that is damaging to teeth, natural sugars are too including the type found in fruit and milk. That’s not to say that your baby should never be given these things (milk of some sort is, of course, essential for your baby for at least 1 year!) but fruit juice should be avoided until one year of age (and avoided completely if possible) and always try to brush your baby’s teeth after his final milk feed before bed. But remember to leave at least 30 minutes before brushing