While most parents are aware that brushing their children’s teeth regularly is important, many are not aware that maintaining oral hygiene is beneficial well before their baby has acquired a full set of teeth.

The team at Arden House Dental in Cheltenham believes that cleaning your baby’s gums has both physical and psychological benefits. The dental practice in Cheltenham provides family dentistry, dentures and a comprehensive range of cosmetic dentistry and also provide a full range of dental hygiene services.

A physical benefit is the reduction of the amount of bacteria in baby’s mouth, which can help prevent gum infection and inflammation and creates a cleaner environment for emerging teeth. Regular cleaning of the baby’s gums can also reduce pain during teething as the pressure and friction of cleaning can desensitize the gums to a degree.

Another reason to start taking care of your baby’s gums and teeth as early as possible is that this will help baby learn that brushing your teeth is a normal part of life.

Sometimes, if started too late, the first experiences of having their teeth brushed can be quite upsetting for young children, as from their point of view, suddenly and for no apparent reason a foreign object is being forced into their mouths, causing unexplained discomfort and confusion.

Making oral hygiene a habit by starting it early will ensure that once your child has a full set of teeth, she will be so accustomed to regular brushing, that she will quickly start brushing her own teeth voluntarily.

A good way to start getting baby used to an oral hygiene routine is to wipe her gums during bath time with a wet cloth or gauze.

You won’t need to use toothpaste if baby doesn’t have any teeth as the active ingredient fluoride is for strengthening the enamel and won’t have any beneficial effects until the teeth come through. During teething you may need to take extra care when cleaning baby’s gums so you don’t cause them unnecessary discomfort.

As soon as your baby’s teeth start poking through the gums, use a toothbrush with a small head to gently brush each tooth, front and back. Use only a tiny amount of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice, as you won’t be able to stop your baby from swallowing it.

Excessive fluoride intake can lead to fluorosis, a condition that will cause white spots to develop on your child’s teeth and reduced bone elasticity, which makes bones more likely to fracture.

However, a small amount of fluoride will strengthen your baby’s teeth and make them more resistant to acid erosion and tooth decay by strengthening the enamel, while brushing will remove food residue and with it bacteria that might cause inflammation and infection.

Arden House recommend, the following products that can help with babies’ and toddlers’ with oral hygiene include xylitol wipes, when are used to wipe the gums to help reduce the amount of bacteria in a baby’s mouth; chewable toothbrushes, which utilise baby’s chewing rather than brushing to clean gums and teeth; and ‘Floss Brushes’, which will become useful for inter dental cleaning when the teeth begin to touch. Many people do not floss, which can cause gum problems and plaque build-up even with an otherwise good oral hygiene regime.

A Floss Brush is a great way for children to get used to the idea of flossing so that is becomes part of their daily routine along with brushing. Making a good oral hygiene regime a regular part of every day will ensure your baby’s smile will stay beautiful indefinitely.