Baby’s Health Care

Oral Care

  • Good oral care is important for your baby right from the beginning. Oral health is a key aspect of overall health and you can begin good oral habits when your baby is an infant. Follow these guidelines to help your baby have a bright smile!
Age 0-6 months
  • Clean your baby’s gums daily.
  • Don’t put your baby to bed with milk in a bottle. Sugars in milk or formula can cause decay on teeth that have not appeared yet. Water is the best way to quench a thirst.
  • Plaque grows in a baby’s mouth even before they have teeth. The bacteria found in plaque can cause early childhood tooth decay, whether your baby feeds from the breast or from a bottle. This painful disease can lead to an early loss of baby teeth, affecting nutrition, speech development, and how the permanent teeth come in.
Age 6-18 months
  • Clean your baby’s teeth daily.
  • Avoid letting your toddler walk around with a bottle or sippy cup, which allows sugars to “pool” in the toddler’s mouth.
  • Serve juice and milk in a sippy cup, not a bottle.
  • Visit the dentist for a check-up.

How To Clean Your Baby’s Mouth

  • Wrap a damp cloth or piece of gauze around your finger
  • Gently wipe the gums from back to front, removing any leftover milk or formula.
  • As soon as teeth begin to appear in your child’s mouth, use a small, soft, and wet toothbrush to clean them.

Immunization

Babies are highly vulnerable to infectious diseases because their immune systems are still developing. That is why it’s important to boost your baby’s immune system with timely immunizations.

Mothers pass their immunity to their babies during the last few weeks of pregnancy, but this begins to fade within a few weeks of birth. If you are immune to a certain disease, your baby will benefit from this for a short time. In addition, breastfeeding provides some general immunity, so your baby will have fewer colds for example. But breastfeeding does not protect your baby from specific illnesses such as whooping cough or diphtheria.

What Are Vaccines and Immunization?

Vaccines are made from weak or “dead” versions of viruses or bacteria. Vaccines may be given as injections (also known as “needles” or “shots”) or as liquid drops that the baby will swallow. Vaccines stimulate the body to produce antibodies that protect us from diseases. As with adults, babies get vaccinated so that they will develop antibodies to protect them from specific diseases.

A hundred years ago, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death worldwide. In Canada, they now cause less than 5% of all deaths—thanks to immunization programs across the country. Today, it is rare for a Canadian child to get polio, diphtheria, tetanus, mumps, or measles. Whooping cough and rubella (German measles) are also becoming less common as more and more children are immunized against these diseases.

The vaccines used in Canada are very safe. They are developed using the highest standards and are continually monitored to make sure they are safe and effective.

Your health care provider can answer any questions you might have about vaccine safety.