Sally, one of my long time dental hygiene patients, had a baby a few months ago was asking me about her baby’s and teeth when she came in for her first first postpartum dental visit. I gave a Rub-A-Dent package as a baby gift the last time I saw her during her second trimester of pregnancy.
Sally was using the Rub-A-Dent and cleaning her baby’s mouth daily since birth. “I’ve read how important it is not to share anything from anyone’s mouth to baby’s because it spreads the bacteria that causes decay. Is it true that baby’s are not born with the bacteria that causes tooth decay?”
Sally won a smile of the year contest in middle school when she was 13 and she very conscious about the importance of a nice smile ever since. It was important that Clarissa carry on the tradition.
Infant Oral Health
I told Sally that it was indeed true and tooth decay bacteria is transmitted to the infant. Family kisses on the lips, sharing spoons and even playing with big brother or sisters’ toys can increase oral bacteria. “That’s why it is important to wipe baby’s gums once a day, bath time being the best time for “cleaning baby from head to toe!” I said.
Sally smiled, “I’ve been doing that and the Rub-A-Dent is so much manageable to use than a wash cloth and easier that the finger brush. The Rub-A-Dent is fabric and it fits right over your finger and has the little wrist wrap for safety. It’s also simps to rinse off!”
Now Sally was asking how often to replace the Rub-A-Dent. Since it comes two in a package, I suggested she alternate usage and they will last about two to three months.
“Then I should replenish my supply a few times before Clarissa will need a toothbrush?” She was thinking out loud. She asked to purchase another two pack to take care of Clarissa until she came back for her next cleaning in 6 months.
How Baby Teeth Form
“Baby teeth will start erupting anytime after about six months or so. You can keep using the Rub-A-Dent until she has enough teeth to start with a baby toothbrush”, I instructed.
“Once you see or feel a tooth bud forming, you can start thinking about Clarissa’s first about tooth!” Sally smiled.
“That’s what I wanted to ask you. Will I really be able to feel the bulge or bump under the gums?”
“Yes, and then you can expect to see the tip of her first tooth coming through the gums a short time after that. Always be gentle when cleaning the gums. Just in case Clarissa gets fussy while teething and waiting for that first tooth to erupt, you can dip the Rub-A-Dent in ice water and lightly massage that tooth bud or bump. It should help soothe the area.”
Sally was admiring her clean white teeth in the mirror. “This information has been so helpful. I really do believe that everything good starts with a smile and a great dental hygienist! See you in six months!”
Then it was my turn to smile.
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