How to Care for Baby and Toddler’s Oral Hygiene? - Q&A with Grin Dental Expert Kristen at The Prego Expo
The Prego Expo is the largest event series in the US dedicated to new and expectant parents. This January, Grin Natural was honored to be a sponsor at The Prego Expo and hosted a live Oral Health Q&A session at the Expo alongside our Grin Dental Expert, Kirsten Crockwell. The session was well-received by 280 moms watching online. Especially, they loved to learn about the tips for caring for baby's first tooth! We've selected a few mostly asked questions from the event for you, and hope it can also help you and other new moms to best care for your babies' oral health:
Question from moms: I always heard that moms' oral health can affect babies. Why is that?
Kristen: A reason of why the oral health of mothers is so important for their children is because mothers can transmit bacteria that cause cavities to their children through saliva through kissing, through sharing a cup or utensils. If you clean the pacifier off with your mouth, I very much encourage you not to do that because you can transmit the bacteria that causes cavities. So if a mother has a high risk for cavities, you really want to be mindful that that can be passed.
Question from moms: Is breastfeeding linked to tooth decay?
Kristen: This is such an important topic to me. Breastfeeding is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It's important to recognize that it's all about the frequency of breastfeeding. This is more towards your child if they're the age of 12 months or older when they start having teeth erupt.
So for example, um, prolonged or nighttime breastfeeding has been associated with an increased risk for early childhood cavities, especially after the age of 12 months. And that's because breast milk does contain a sugar that’s called lactose.
And again, I have a six-week-old. Obviously my six-week-old, when he is ready to eat, he is going to eat. I'm not concerned about that, but it's after that 12 months of age when your child has teeth, you want to really be mindful of where that milk can rest on their teeth. Prolonged exposure means that they're at a greater chance of milk resting on the enamel, softening the enamel and potentially causing a problem such as cavities.
Question from moms: When shall I start oral hygiene for my baby?
Kristen: It's also important to recognize that other surfaces in your child's mouth and our mouths can harbor bacteria. And so the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry encourages good oral health practices as early as a few days after your child is born.
Now I know a few days after birth, you've got so many other things on your mind than their mouths, but it is important to remember that the tongue can harbor bacteria, the gums harbor bacteria. And so you want to start implementing early good oral hygiene practices and getting your child used to having someone's fingers in their mouths. That can be very important as they get older.
Question from moms: How can I care for my baby's teeth and gum?
Kristen: What you can do in a young child without teeth after breastfeeding is to use a wet cloth or a silicone brush that Grin has. You can use that brush or that wet cloth to wipe their tongue to remove any breast milk. Once your child is past that 12-month mark and has more of their teeth in, you want to try to avoid nursing your child to sleep or waking up and nursing them throughout the night. Because again, it's all about the frequency of the sugar exposed being exposed to the teeth. And so if your child is nursing themselves to sleep, then that milk is just sitting there while they're resting.
When we're sleeping, we don't have as much salivary flow, and our saliva is what cleans our tea. And if you see any white spots developing on your child's teeth, that's when you want to reach out to a dental provider.
Question from moms: I was recommended that Grin Natural Kids Toothpaste is the best baby's 1st toothpaste. Can you tell me more about it?
Grin: Grin Natural Kid’s natural toothpaste is 100% natural as and does not have artificial sweeteners. It does have a real fruit flavor that kids really, really love. Our toothpaste is actually a gel, so kids actually love the texture of it. It also does not have any foaming agent, it's low foaming, so it does not have the SLS or other nasties.
In terms of ingredients, like everything else we do, we put very much intention into the ingredients we select for kid’s pastes as well. They have calendula oil that's effective in cleaning bacteria and gentle and soothing also is aloe leaf extra and organic sea salt that also inhibits bacteria really effectively.
We are so happy to have met so many moms and answered their questions at the live event. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive more oral health and wellbeing tips:)
Photo credits to our beautiful Grin mamas @thefieldsgirls and @precious.two__