Monday, February 7, 2011

Oral Care for Babies

For most people oral care simply means brushing the teeth. At  MAM, we believe oral care should begin even before the first tooth appears!

Here are a few tips from MAM's pediatric dental experts:

1) Clean your baby's gums after breastfeeding or bottlefeeding using a soft cloth, a cotton swab, or a cotton ball. This way you not only remove bacteria but you also gently massage the gums of your child. You can start doing this during the first month after delivery. MAM has developed the Oral Care Rabbit to meet this need. 
The MAM Oral Care Rabbit is a teething cloth that makes dental hygiene very easy. Simply slip your finger into one of the ears – this makes it easier to reach and clean each part of your baby´s mouth. The soft microfibers clean and gently massage the gums.


2) Choosing the right toothbrush is very important. It should have a long non-slippery handle that allows you to practice brushing the teeth together with your child. Soft bristles with rounded heads prevent harming your baby´s tender gums and tooth enamel. Do not use natural bristles as they are hollow, retain moisture and trap bacteria that would be reintroduced each time the child brushes. Also, bristles should be rounded to effectively make them able to reach and clean each part of the oral cavity. For children under 2 years old, it is not recommended to use toothpaste. After that age, you can use a pea-size amount of toothpaste containing fluoride.

3) It is extremely important to brush your baby's teeth daily! Plaque will begin to form as soon as the first tooth appears. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria, which constantly forms on all teeth. By brushing the teeth regularly the formation of caries can be prevented. Let your baby sit on your lap or put him or her on the changing table. Stand behind your child and tilt his or her head back. If necessary, open the mouth gently with your fingers while you are cleaning the teeth alone or together with your child. Or, let your child first clean their teeth and then re-brush. At the beginning the technique is not that important. It is more important to get the child used to cleaning their teeth regularly and carefully. 

4) Lastly here are some ideas to get your baby brushing:
Motivation is everything! Cleaning the teeth is a daily ritual that your child should get used to. While cleaning, count the movements – each part of the oral cavity should be cleaned at least 10 times. Like getting dressed or brushing the hair, brushing the teeth is part of the daily routine. Link both activities together, so that it is easier for your child to remember them.
Be a role model! Your child will enjoy using a toothbrush much more when mom, dad, and his or her brothers and sisters are also using one.
A "brushing-the-teeth-song" that lasts at least one to two minutes can also be very motivating.
Make a "tooth-brushing-calendar" on which you put a funny sticker each time after having brushed their teeth. This way it is much more fun for your baby to use a toothbrush twice a day.
Invent stories around toothbrushing. Try to chase little scary devils using the toothbrush. You can also name your baby´s teeth and invent stories using these characters. Imitate voices of animals or voices of your child´s favorite toy. You can also use a hand puppet that is holding the toothbrush. In various stores you can look for other games, stories, and songs that can help motivate your child to continue cleaning their teeth twice daily.

MAM products are available at all leading baby retail stores, selected Pick n Pay stores and Dis-chem
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