In this Article
- When Do Babies Teeth Start Appearing?
- When to Start Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth?
- Do You Need to Buy a Special Toothpaste and Toothbrush?
- What Kind of Toothpaste is Right for Your Baby?
- How Much Toothpaste to Use?
- How to Brush Your Baby’s Teeth?
- Teaching Your Baby to Brush
- How to Prevent Cavities?
- What is Fluoride?
- How to Know if Your Baby is Getting Enough Fluoride?
- Is It Safe to Give Fluoride Supplements to Your Baby?
- What to Do if a Baby Hates Brushing Time
- When to Contact a Dentist?
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Your baby’s dental journey starts with the right baby teeth care. Learning to brush your baby’s teeth right can make a difference to their dental health in the long run. Start cleaning your baby’s teeth the minute their first tooth appears and be aware of the basic practices involved in oral hygiene. Here are a couple of tips on how to clean baby teeth:
When Do Babies Teeth Start Appearing?
Babies’ teeth start appearing, in general, when they are between four to seven months old. The first set of teeth which appear in babies is the two bottom front teeth.
When to Start Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth?
Taking care of your baby’s teeth as soon as they appear is important as it can affect their speaking skills and help in the formation of their jawline. Further, taking care of their teeth will prevent infections and other teeth problems which result from poor infant oral health care.
Do You Need to Buy a Special Toothpaste and Toothbrush?
At first, you may clean your baby’s gums directly using your finger or a soft-bristled brush to let them get used to the sensations of brushing. Using a toothbrush for baby teeth care is ideal when signs of teething are revealed.
If you are using a toothbrush, use one with a small head and soft nylon bristles. Ideally, pick a colourful brush or one with cartoon characters so that your baby looks forward to his brushing sessions and make toothbrushing times a fond memory.
Regarding special toothpaste, it is generally not recommended to use toothpaste before the baby turns three years old as they don’t learn the motions of spitting fluids until then.
What Kind of Toothpaste is Right for Your Baby?
- Before your baby turns three, use non-fluoride toothpaste, if you must, according to the doctor’s recommendations, otherwise, simply use a soft washcloth, gauze or muslin to wipe your baby’s gums and clean their mouths with water.
- You can begin using normal toothpaste after age three and above on the baby’s teeth once they learn how to spit. Change toothbrushes regularly, every one to three months as soon as the bristles start spreading.
How Much Toothpaste to Use?
According to the American Dental Association, you can use a smear of low-fluoride toothpaste for ages three and below.
Once the baby turns three, you can begin using a pea-sized dollop of toothpaste for baby dental care.
How to Brush Your Baby’s Teeth?
- During the first 5 months, use a damp washcloth and wipe your baby’s mouth clean after feeding times. This gets him/her get used to baby dental care routines and establish proper oral hygiene habits from the start. This helps remove food buildups and prevent cavities from forming on their tooth.
- Around 6 months, when your child’s teeth begin to first appear, start cleaning or brushing with a toothbrush which has soft nylon bristles and a small head. At this stage, brush lightly with water. You can use a soft finger toothbrush which consists of a rubber sheath with small nylon bristles. Moisten the brush with a pea-sized dab of fluoride-free training toothpaste on the toothbrush.
- Seat yourself on a chair or sofa and cradle your baby on your lap in a feeding position. Glide your finger over his/her gums using the finger brush and wipe both sides of each tooth. You can use a toy to keep your baby engaged if he is the fidgety sort. For rinsing, swipe a wet washcloth all around his teeth and gums.
- When back molars start popping up around his first birthday, switch to a soft-bristled toddler toothbrush with training toothpaste.
- Start brushing in a circular motion, going towards the front of the tooth to the back and work your way towards the chewing surfaces on the bottom. Repeat similar motions for the bottom.
- Sweep over the roof of the mouth, inside the cheeks and over the tongue. Rinse with a swipe of a wet washcloth.
- Take care of your baby’s teeth right away when they first start appearing. The first set of teeth is vital as they preserve the spacing and arrangement of upcoming permanent teeth which they get soon replaced with. If they are not cared for properly, it results in tooth decay and can interfere with the formation of permanent teeth
- When your baby is three and above, start using fluoride toothpaste but make sure the amount you use is not more than pea-sized. Brush gently on the inside and outside of their teeth and even their tongues (if they’ll let you) to remove traces of bacteria and clear away bad breath.
- Up your baby’s fluoride intake after they turn 6 months old. Fluoride prevents tooth decay and even though you’re not using toothpaste at this stage, it’s important to supplement fluoride through other sources. Tap water contains fluoride in traces and is a great source, however, some water supply companies remove fluoride content from tap water. Consult your doctor regarding fluoride supplements once your baby turns 6 months old.
- Start brushing their teeth with a toothbrush from the age of two. You can use a smear (the size of a rice grain) of fluoride toothpaste or low-fluoride toothpaste as per doctor’s recommendations at this point. Brush twice a day.
- Avoid cavities by not leaving your baby with a bottle of milk or juice once feeding is done.
While brushing teeth is something most of us do when we are almost half asleep, brushing a baby’s teeth may need more of an effort. Here are a few tips to help you get started
- Learning how to clean baby teeth is vitally important before you begin cleaning their teeth. Make sure you clean your baby’s gums too along with their teeth!
- Your baby may feel discomfort and be reluctant to let their teeth get brushed in the beginning. A good workaround for this is making fun little games and demonstrating how toothbrushing is important by doing it yourself. A cold teething ring or a cold washcloth which the baby can chew on helps too.
- Before using special teething gels and creams, consult your doctor.
- Clean your baby’s gums with a washcloth at least once a day, including their gums, after the feeding process to exercise proper baby dental care. Slowly start flossing their teeth once they get comfortable with the sensations of toothbrushing.
Teaching Your Baby to Brush
Your child will begin brushing when they turn six to eight years old. When teaching your baby to brush, it is important to turn it into a fun-filled experience. You can sing favourite songs associated with brushing and gently allow the baby to get used to the motions and sensations of brushing. Toddlers must be guided to spit the toothpaste after brushing and you may use an electric toothbrush to help your toddler get used to brushing. Brushing must be encouraged twice a day for optimal oral dental care.
Should you brush your baby’s gums?
Yes. Brushing baby’s gums will eliminate bad breath and signs of bacterial, thus preventing dental infections. Clean your baby’s gums with a washcloth at least once a day, including their gums, after the feeding process to exercise proper baby dental care.
Once teeth appear, clean your baby’s mouth twice a day minimum. You may switch to a soft baby brush once your child turns 1 to 2 years old and add a small dab of fluoride-free toothpaste which is absolutely safe for infants. Slowly start flossing their teeth once they get comfortable with the sensations of toothbrushing.
How to Prevent Cavities?
During the first 5 months, use a damp washcloth and wipe your baby’s mouth clean after feeding times. This gets him/her get used to baby dental care routines and establish proper oral hygiene habits from the start. This helps remove food buildups and prevent cavities from forming on their tooth. Adding fluoride supplements or using a dab of fluoride toothpaste helps fights against cavities as well.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that’s found in tap water and toothpaste. Fluoride helps prevent teeth decay by strengthening the developing teeth of children, hardening enamel and preventing dissolution through demineralization processes in the baby’s teeth.
How to Know if Your Baby is Getting Enough Fluoride?
Tap water sometimes contains fluoride which may reduce the need for fluoride supplements in the beginning, however, check with your doctor regarding this since too much fluoride content can damage your baby’s teeth.
Is It Safe to Give Fluoride Supplements to Your Baby?
Babies must not be given fluoride supplements during the first six months. After six months, based on doctor’s recommendations fluoride supplements can be given to your baby based on overall fluoride intake through tap water and toothpaste content.
What to Do if a Baby Hates Brushing Time
Your baby may feel discomfort and be reluctant to let their teeth get brushed in the beginning. A good workaround for this is making fun little games and demonstrating how toothbrushing is important by doing it yourself. A cold teething run or a cold washcloth which the baby can chew on helps too.
When to Contact a Dentist?
If your baby has teething troubles consult a doctor or a dental specialist. Before using special teething gels and creams, consult your doctor. Do not give your baby aspirin as it can cause Reye’s syndrome and lead to death for children under 18 years old.
Brushing your baby’s teeth is not as hard as one expects. By following the above tips and keeping fluoride intake in mind, you’ll be strolling through motherhood lane and help your baby establish perfect oral hygiene habits, thus safeguarding their teeth and their dental future.
Also Read: Bathing Your Baby – Procedure and Tips