Knowing when to start brushing your baby’s teeth starts a lifetime of good oral health. The emergence of your child’s first tooth is an important milestone. The answer to knowing when to start brushing your baby’s teeth depends on the individual child.
When Do Baby Teeth Come In?
Most babies start to get their baby teeth between six and twelve months. It is important to begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they are visible. Usually, the first teeth to come in are located at the top and the bottom front of the mouth.
Some babies may have tender or sore gums when the teeth first start to come in. Rub the child’s gums with a clean finger, a wet gauze, or a small, cool spoon as this can be soothing. You could also give the child a clean teething ring to chew on. if the child seems in pain or cranky, consult your dentist or physician. (ADA)
How to Brush New Teeth
Before the child has teeth, you can brush the child’s gums with a clean washcloth or a finger brush and some water. Ensure that you gently wipe the entire area around the gums and get under the lip region to help reduce bacteria build-up.
When you are ready to start brushing your baby’s teeth, there are a few things you will need: water, toothpaste, and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Wet the toothbrush in the water and add a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to the bristles. Gently brush all surfaces of your baby’s teeth, using circular motions. Be sure to brush on the inside surfaces of their teeth as well. Avoid brushing too hard, as this can damage the enamel on the teeth. Please encourage your child to try and spit out the toothpaste and rinse their mouth with water as soon as they can. (Crider, 2020)
What Type of Toothbrush Is Best for My Baby?
When choosing a toothbrush for your baby, it is essential to select one that has soft bristles and right sized for the mouth. Soft brush bristles will help avoid any irritation or injury to delicate gums. You can find toothbrushes specifically designed for babies at most drugstores and grocery stores.
Another option is an electric toothbrush, which some parents find helpful when brushing a full set of permanent teeth. No matter what type of toothbrush you choose, be sure to replace it every three months or sooner if it shows signs of wear and tear. Do not share the toothbrush with others.
Caring for Your Child’s Teeth
Brushing twice a day is the best way to care for teeth and gums. Spend 2 minutes brushing. Concentrate a good portion of this time on the back molars as this is an area where cavities often first develop.
In addition to brushing, you should also floss your child’s teeth once a day. This will help remove any plaque or food stuck between their teeth. After brushing and flossing in the evening before bed, do not give your child any food or drink, except water, until the following day. (Watson, 2021)
It is also essential to start taking your child to the dentist for their first check-up at around one year. The dentist will examine the teeth and gums as well as correct tooth positioning. They may also recommend a fluoride supplement if necessary and ensure that your child has healthy teeth and gums.
One of the most important things to remember when brushing your baby’s teeth is to make it a fun and positive experience. Babies learn best through repetition and positive reinforcement, so make brushing time into a game or sing them a song while you brush their teeth. With proper brushing and dental care, you can help set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
These are just a few tips to get you started on taking care of your baby’s teeth. For more information, please consult your child’s dentist. They will be able to give you tailored advice based on your child’s individual needs.
ADA. “Baby Teeth.” Mouth Healthy TM, American Dental Association, www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/baby-teeth.
Crider, Catherine. “Brushing Baby Teeth: When to Start, How to Do It, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 24 Feb. 2020, www.healthline.com/health/baby/brushing-baby-teeth#.
Watson, Stephanie. “Baby Teeth Care: Brushing First Teeth, Teething, Gum Care, and More.” WebMD, WebMD, 2021, www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/caring-babies-teeth.