When your baby is born, it is easy to be overwhelmed by all the feedings, sleep deprivation, and diapers. Taking care of their mouth is the last thing on your mind, but it is important not to neglect it. The mouth can tell us many things if we pay attention. If your baby suddenly doesn’t want to eat or drink, check their mouth. Maybe there’s a sore present, or teething has started.
How to keep baby’s mouth clean
After nursing or feeding, it is always a good idea to let your baby sip water. Sometimes food or liquids get trapped in the cheeks, so this is a way to rinse it away.
Begin by laying your baby, face up, on your lap, resting their head on the lap of the other person. Gently, but firmly, hold your baby’s arms on their chest or by their sides to minimize squirming. The other person can proceed to clean the mouth.
One person cleaning
If you are alone, lay baby down, face up, on a flat surface where there is no chance of falling. You can gently, but firmly hold their arms on their chest with one hand, or give them a toy to distract them while you clean the mouth.
Mouth Cleaning Considerations For Your Baby
When it comes to cleaning the mouth, the method you use depends on whether your baby has teeth or not. Most babies start getting their teeth between 2-5 months, but there is a small percentage of babies who are born with teeth (these are called natal teeth).
If there are no teeth, use a clean cloth that has been dampened with warm water and gently wipe the insides of their mouth.
If the teeth are present, it is recommended to use a soft finger toothbrush. It will protect your finger from being bitten while allowing you to clean their mouth. You can also supplement with a clean cloth to wipe the rest of the mouth.
Once you put the cloth or toothbrush near your baby’s mouth, their natural reaction will be to open their mouth. If not, gently try to pry their mouth open. If they do not co-operate, try the next day again. Try the best you can, and if it doesn’t work out on a particular night, don’t force the issue.
The earlier you start cleaning your baby’s mouth, the sooner they will get used to the process, and the easier it will be for your child to transition to toothbrushing. Contact us for more information.