We started to wipe my son’s mouth with a wet, clean gauze pad when he was 2-3 months old upon the advice of our pediatrician. As I wrote in my post about oral thrush, when my son had thrush, we also added baking soda to the water in which we soaked the gauze. We started using the same method as soon as my daughter was born.
Benefits of cleaning the mouth after nursing:
- Preventing thrush
- Helping the teeth come out easier by softening the gums – as per our pediatrician.
- Massaging babies’ itchy gums during teething and comforting them.
When you try it, you’ll see that your baby will like the gum massage a lot. My son and daughter used to get fussy when we were done and pulled our finger out. They used to grab our hand and pull it back to continue the massage.
Clean the top of the tongue as well as the palate and gums. Continue with the cleaning as the baby teeth start to emerge. You can switch to Fingertip Toothbrush instead of gauze pad. At this point, the trick is to avoid having your finger bitten by little Jaws because baby teeth are extremely sharp: they go through your skin easy as pie. If they bite your finger, never laugh and encourage. Your first reaction is very important. Calmly, pull your finger and say “mommy’s/daddy’s finger hurts”. If little Jaws doesn’t open their mouth, press on their cheeks and open their jaws.
If you brush your own teeth with them, every morning after breakfast and before going to bed, it will quickly become a regular routine. Furthermore, brushing teeth will be a signal of bedtime. This might have benefits as well as difficulties. Kiddos, who understand it is bedtime and do not want to go to bed, might refuse to brush their teeth. At this point, it depends on your perseverance and creativity. You can get toothbrushes or toothpaste adorned with their favorite characters or toys and take them to the bathroom with encouraging, playful words like; “let’s make your teeth shiny”, “you brush mine and I brush yours”, “let’s examine our mouths in the mirror”.
If your children have brown deposits on their teeth, which are not cavities, like my son has, I’d recommend you to consult with a dentist. Dentists, who have experience with children, manage even the crankiest kids like my son and clean up those deposits with incredible agility. We were told that it is normal that these deposits would come back. Well, for us that was also the case. The simplest homemade solution to this is to sprinkle a little bit of baking soda on a regular toothbrush and brush their teeth surfaces, especially towards the gumline really well. After a while, even though this brownness doesn’t disappear entirely, baking soda will help decrease it quite a bit.