Parenting a baby is a blissful experience. But parents must be skeptical about the products they use for their babies every time. Your baby gets his or her first teeth at 6 to 8 months of age. Dentists strongly recommend that you should not apply toothpaste on your baby’s teeth and gums before they are two.
Toothpaste contains some chemicals that may be harmful to your baby’s gum tissue. Teething is a complicated process and to have a smooth teething experience, and you should avoid chemicals.
Toothpaste contains chemicals, which although useful for adults can be toxic to infants.
Fluoride is a necessity for developing teeth, but the fluoride needs can be met by other sources too. Fluoride sources for babies below two years of age can be achieved only with regular drinking water that contains fluoride in 1ppm concentration.
Also, there are some alternative measures that can help you take care of your baby’s teeth. On the other side, there are some ailments, like baby bottle cavities and pacifier teeth, that may hurt your baby’s teeth.
After the age of two years, it is safe to use toothpaste, and there are some commercially available options as well. So, let’s dive into the details about toothpaste safety for your baby’s first tooth.
Toothpaste contents that are harmful to a baby
Toothpaste is the most commonly used dentifrice in our day to day life. It majorly consists of abrasives, salts of sodium and magnesium, fluorides, an antimicrobial agent and chemical stabilizers.
Teething begins when your baby is only six months old. Fluoride in toothpaste can cause fluoride toxicity in babies. Let’s see other contents of toothpaste which could be harmful to babies.
Toothpaste contains detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate. They might lead to canker sores and allergies in your baby’s mouth.
Abrasives like silica present in toothpaste might cause tooth sensitivity. Your baby’s first tooth has fragile enamel and silica can damage your baby’s tooth.
Binding agents like carrageenans, xantham gums, and alginates in toothpaste are strong chemicals. These can cause allergic reactions in your baby’s sensitive gums.
Antiseptics like tea tree oil, alcohol, and peppermint can cause chemical burns in your baby’s gums.
Excessive fluoride in toothpaste can cause fluoride toxicity in babies. Fluoride may further initiate teeth decay in babies at an accelerated rate.
Triclosan is a commonly found antibiotic in toothpaste. Babies have a developing immunity. Introducing antibiotics in a baby’s immune status may make their immunity underdeveloped.
Unnecessary use of antibiotics exposes your baby to diseases. Other than this, toothpaste consists of humectants, coloring and flavoring agents which are potentially harmless. (1)
Is it safe to use toothpaste for your baby’s first tooth?
After looking at all the contents mentioned above and their consequences on your baby’s first tooth, you may not want to use toothpaste for your baby. Dentist advocate that you can use toothpaste only after your baby is two years old.
By the age of two, your baby develops more than 12 teeth. Hence, the gums and teeth are stable enough to receive the chemical in toothpaste.
It is not safe to use toothpaste on the gums and teeth of your baby before two years of age. So, the final verdict goes as it is not on your baby’s first tooth.
Alternative methods for taking care of your baby’s first tooth
You can follow these protocols to maintain good oral hygiene without using toothpaste –
- Get into a habit of brushing your baby’s first tooth using only a gentle toothbrush.
- Tooth brushing helps your baby to get accustomed to the process.
- Brushing removes other bacteria and plaque keeping gum problems away.
- Gum massage can improve circulation of blood in the gums.
- Healthy gums promote better teeth development for your baby.
- Get into a habit of rinsing your baby’s mouth every time after your baby consumes milk.
- Residual milk between your babies teeth can cause baby bottle cavities. (2)
Ailments that can hurt your baby’s teeth soon after teething begins
The following are some teeth and gum problems that may bother your baby soon after teething begins –
Baby bottle cavities
You often have a habit of feeding your baby in lying down position. Because of this milk remains trapped between the teeth and gums.
The remaining milk can cause fast progressing cavities in between your baby’s newly erupting teeth. Dentists call these baby bottle cavities or rampant cavities.
Pacifier use for your baby may lead to the development of Pacifier tooth. A pacifier tooth is a condition where your baby develops crooked and misaligned teeth due to constant use of pacifiers. (3)
Over to you
Thus, putting it all together, you should not use toothpaste for your baby’s first tooth. But there are alternative ways, such as regular brushing, gums massage, etc., to take care of baby’s first tooth.
Also, avoid problems such as pacifier teeth and baby bottle cavities. If you follow the protocol mentioned above, it will be relatively easier to maintain your baby’s oral health without any toothpaste.