Is there anything cuter or more endearing than your baby’s toothless, gummy smile? Maybe there’s a cat video out there that comes close. Or one of those adorable puppies with no understanding of basic geometry who can’t get his oversized stick through the doggy door. You know those videos—they’re adorable.
But really, a baby’s toothless smile has to win the cuteness game. Of course, it wouldn’t be so cute if their smile was full of mashed-up spinach or yesterday’s apple sauce. Nor would it be so cute if it smelled like they were fermenting breastmilk. In other words, it’s only cute if it’s clean.
Even though your baby might not have any pearly whites to flash quite yet, it’s never too early to think about their dental and oral health. In fact, keeping your baby’s gums and mouth clean before they start teething is crucial to ensuring that their toothless smile doesn’t stay that way after it should. An all-gums, no-teeth smile is cute when they’re in diapers but it can be a sign of trouble if it persists longer than that.
Fortunately, keeping your baby’s gums clean is a lot easier than keeping their room clean will be once they hit those terrible teens. Include these simple steps in your daily routine and your baby’s smile will be the cutest thing you see all day. Sorry kittens.
Wipe Their Gums
Just as you would floss and brush your teeth twice a day—you are flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day, aren’t you?—you can wipe your baby’s gums regularly.
In fact, wiping your baby’s gums can be the most effective way of ensuring their mouth stays clean and free of harmful bacteria. Just because they don’t have any teeth doesn’t mean that bacteria-causing food morsels can’t find a place to hide and wreak oral health havoc.
But before you go and break out the fluoride toothpaste—save that for when their baby teeth start coming in—wiping your baby’s gums is a lot easier than brushing your own teeth. In fact, you won’t even need a toothbrush—a wet washcloth and a delicate touch are the only tools required.
After cleaning your hands with soap and water, simply dampen a washcloth or a sterile piece of gauze and gently rub it along your baby’s gums. Be sure to get into any crevices where food is likely to have settled. And while you’re in there, you can also check for signs of teething!
Unlike your own dental care routine, there isn’t necessarily an American Dental Association-recommended routine for wiping your baby’s gums. But you can safely wipe their gums after every meal to clear food debris and before putting them down for the night.
Keep Pacifiers, Bottles and Other Items Clean
A big part of cleaning your baby’s gums is making sure that their mouth never gets dirty in the first place. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Every parent knows that food isn’t the only thing that goes into a baby’s mouth. In fact, pretty much anything they can get their little hands on is going to end up as an improvised, slobber-covered chew toy.
Keeping pacifiers, bottles, and any other feeding items clean will drastically reduce the number of harmful bacteria that enter your child’s mouth. Similarly, regularly cleaning any items that your baby is likely to put into their mouth—blankets, toys, teething rings, etc.—will reduce their chances of developing an oral infection.
Keeping feeding items clean is another simple task. Submerge the items in hot water with any type of anti-microbial soap and then rinse them thoroughly. The American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers this handy guide for cleaning, sterilizing, and storing infant feeding items.
Healthy Gums Leads to Healthy Teeth
Keeping your infant’s gums clean isn’t just about ensuring that they’ll win any cuteness contest. More importantly, it’s about providing them with the opportunity to develop their fullest and healthiest smile.
Keeping your baby’s gums as clean as they can be will create the perfect environment for their teeth to grow into. So, when the time comes, they can have a pearly-white, toothy smile.
Furthermore, it’s never too early to start building good habits. Making oral care part of your baby’s routine from the very beginning will make it easier as they grow older.
Consult Your Pediatric Dentist
Just because your tiny tot doesn’t have any teeth doesn’t mean that they can’t see a dentist. When you clean your baby’s gums, be sure to look out for any signs of irritation, inflammation, or infection. An unusual reddening of the gums could be the beginning of an infection or an indication that teething has begun.
Either way, it’s always a good idea to bring your baby to a pediatric dentist for a regular check-up and cleaning. So, book your baby’s appointment with Treehouse Dental Care today. We can’t wait to see their gummy smile!