How to Make Playtime Safe for Baby Teeth
New moms learn one thing pretty quickly: kids love toys, and love putting them in their mouths, particularly when they are teething. Parents should keep this in mind and make sure the toys they buy are teeth-friendly.
Clean is Everything
Tots don’t baby their beloved toys. They may be on the ground one second, in their hand another, and in their mouth the next. That flight path is a one-way ticket to germ city. What can you do about it?
Regular cleaning is your first line of defense. Keep it simple. Gentle cleansing works just fine. Plastics can be dunked in warm, soapy water or run through the dishwasher, so look for dishwasher-safe toys for easy clean-up. Fabric and plush toys can be spot-cleaned with baby-safe wipes for little messes and run through the washing machine for a deeper clean (beware of batteries and electronics in toys — they won’t make it out of the dishwasher and washing machine alive).
Shop with cleaning in mind. If a toy seems hard to clean, it’s a germ magnet. And remember, that germ magnet will likely make a playdate with your child’s mouth sooner or later.
Beware of Pacifiers
Your baby may love their pacifier now, but a love that lasts too long can have a lasting impact on their oral health. Experts advise weaning babies off of pacifiers beginning at around the 6-month mark, which falls smack dab in the middle of when most babies’ teeth begin to appear (4 to 7 months).
Keeping pacifiers much beyond that point can cause teeth misalignments, sending them down a potentially long road of dental issues. You can start by limiting pacifier time to naps and bedtime, offering alternative comforts like blankies and Mommy-and-me time in between. Weaning can be tough, but hang in there. Your child will be happier in the long run.
Keep playtime worry-free with teeth-friendly toys. When baby’s teeth are clean and healthy, they’ll have a lot more fun – and Mom and Dad will rest easier.