How/Why do you clean a baby's mouth out?

Tara - posted on 06/17/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I have been reading on a lot of teething posts that moms clean their babies mouth out. I'm a first time mom with a prem baby (born 23 March 2010 and was 3 months early). I have never heard of this before. Why must you do that and how must you do it? Are you already supposed to use some kind of toothpaste on the gums? Thank you!

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Caroline - posted on 06/21/2010

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Hi Tara,
I've got a 10 month old girl - 2 months early. She is still a gummi bear! I have been using the PIGEON baby training toothbrushes. They come in a pack of 3. We are only up to the first one but my lass loves it as it helps with sore gums too- she puts it in her own mouth and we do practice brushing. I also wipe her mouth out with a muslin cloth in the bath- another favourite of my daughters. - I would also ring the dentist and ask about Prems as they are different and I have heard sometimes they teeth later...?

Liz - posted on 06/19/2010

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I should add that most dentists do not recommend that a child under age 2 has any toothpaste at all!

Liz - posted on 06/18/2010

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Kylie, I trained as a nurse in the UK and qualified last year. I spent two weeks with health visitors and paediactric nurses at one point and my job was to brief parents on how to deal with teething and new teeth. I can promise you that the established guidance from GPs in baby clinics at the time - this was only 2009 - was that adult toothpaste is a complete NO.



If you look at the concentrations of fluoride, you will see that fluoridated children's toothpaste is a much lower amount, as in about 50% of the value. Infant toothpaste contains about 250-500 ppm; adult toothpaste generally contains 1000 ppm.



Why does this matter? The younger the child, the more likely that their swallow reflex is not advanced enough for them to manage spitting. Instead the majority of any toothpaste introduced into their mouth will end up going down their throat. Too much fluoride intake can cause discoloration of teeth - a condition known as fluoridosis - or even be toxic to the child.

Kylie - posted on 06/18/2010

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I don't know which country you are in, but in some areas of England (including ours) the advice is to use adult toothpaste as soon as the teeth appear, because our water does not contain fluoride. I was shocked as I'd bought the special baby toothpaste, but had to throw it away!

Julie - posted on 06/18/2010

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No paste, wipe gums ... no need to use even a finger brush, a soft cloth is fine. My guy was 3 months early, too and he has enamel issues. Our pediatric dentist says it is important to remove the plaque or build up in their mouth, especially before they sleep.

Liz - posted on 06/18/2010

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It's important just to clean the gums from around 3 months, so that your little one will get used to the feel of something in their mouth, which makes toothbrush training easier. Gentle pressure on the gum can also help ease the discomfort of teething when it occurs.

Once teeth are actually showing, you should clean the child's mouth twice a day. Don't use fluoride toothpaste, unless it's specifically for infants, as the amounts are greatly different to adult toothpaste and an infant would OD on an adult fluroride amount.

Amalie - posted on 06/18/2010

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The human mouth holds more germs than we care to think about if you get mouth infections it can take a huge toll on your health research has shown that starting good hygiene at a very early age is better for preventing gum disease later on.. u can buy sterile water from your chemist (pharmacy) about $3 a bottle use cotton wool balls wipe around the outside of the mouth then use a cotton stick the ones u clean your ear's with are fine wet it an run around the inside of your gum an cheek your baby will love you for it. there is also a gum brush you can get from your dentist an a milk tooth paste there not expensive.

Liz - posted on 06/17/2010

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They recommend starting to clean your child's mouth (gums/ teeth) at four months of age. They have the finger brushes, or the actual tooth brushes for infants, and the infant/ toddler training tooth paste. It's suppose to a) stimulate the gums, and b) keep the mouth/ teeth clean.

Sarah - posted on 06/17/2010

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It's to get the babies used to the idea before they have teeth :) I started using a baby wash cloth on Zoe's gums when she was just a few months old, generally in the bathtub. Now that che is cutting teeth, it is easy for me to get an idea of what is going on in her mouth, I just wipe her mouth out and I can feel the teeth! No toothpaste!

Lindsey - posted on 06/17/2010

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My daughter is 7 mos, 4 1/2 mos adjusted and I started using the finger brush and infant tooth paste when she started teething. I don't think it's something you have to do, but I think it probably feels good to them when they are teething and it's good to get into the habit of brushing. I don't think you're suppose to use the infant toothpaste until they're like 3-4 mos though.

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