When should you start brushing your baby’s teeth
Most babies will not have any teeth before the age of six months. But oral care for babies should start early. For their first few months, you should use a clean, damp, and soft cloth or gauze pad to clean the gums and tongue. Do this at least twice a day. This will prevent the buildup of milk residues. These residues are common, but they can cause discomfort for your baby.
Cleaning their gums and tongue also wash off bacteria and prevents damage to your baby’s teeth. Another benefit is it will get your baby accustomed to the feeling of getting their mouth brushed. Once your baby’s first tooth emerged, it’s time to start using a toothbrush. This is typically around six months of age.
What toothbrush should you use
For starters, one of the best products to use is the finger infant toothbrush. It is easy to use and most of it is made from food-grade materials. These are also BPA-free and are safe for babies.
Another option is using teether-style toothbrushes. This will allow your little one to play and clean their teeth at the same time. As a bonus, these brushes come in fun shapes and colors that your baby will surely love.
Once your baby has enough teeth, you can switch to using a child-sized toothbrush. These toothbrushes have soft bristles and a smaller head that fits better into your baby’s mouth. Most of it have broader handles as well for an easy grip.
How to brush your baby’s teeth
Brushing your baby’s teeth can be a little tricky. They are easily distracted and might not want the feeling of the bristles on their gums. So here’s an easy way to clean their little teeth.
- Sit down on the bed or floor with the baby. Baby should be sitting on your lap and their head resting on your body. This position will make you see their mouth easier. This will make them feel secure as well.
- Cup your baby’s chin in one hand and hold the toothbrush in the other.
- Lift your baby’s lip and brush their teeth in a gentle circular motion.
- Make sure you brush the front, back, top, and along the gum line of each tooth.
- Angle your baby’s head down so the excess water can dribble out into a cup or cloth.
- After brushing the teeth, clean the gums as usual.
- Brush your baby’s teeth at least twice a day, and one is before bedtime.
How to keep the toothbrush clean
Just like feeding bottles, your baby’s toothbrush should be sterilized before the first use. Do this by boiling the toothbrush for three minutes. You can also soak the toothbrush in hot water for thirty minutes. Doing this will help get rid of any factory-accumulated dirt.
After every use, rinse the toothbrush with tap water. Store it in an open container and allow it to air-dry. Your baby’s toothbrush must be replaced every three to four months. It can be earlier when the bristles get worn.
When to start using toothpaste
You can start using toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts. Since most babies cannot spit, it is important to use a toothpaste specially made for them. This toothpaste is safe to swallow.
Yes, most toothpaste for babies can be swallowed. But it is still important to start training them to spit out the toothpaste as they are able.
How much toothpaste you should put
Dentists suggest that a small amount of toothpaste is safe for babies under the age of three. Approximately the size of a grain of rice. For children above three years old, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is recommended.
Fluoride toothpaste is safe for babies. It’s a natural mineral that protects the teeth against the formation of cavities. Using fluoride early will provide extra protection for growing teeth.
What to do if your baby refused
When your baby refused when it’s time to clean their teeth, you’re not alone. Some don’t even let the toothbrush inside their mouth. So before you give up out of frustration, give these tricks a try.
- Try making up a special tooth brushing song. Like “Brush, brush, brush your teeth” to the tune of any nursery rhyme. It is better if your baby is familiar with the song.
- Bring in a favorite toy and let your child “brush” its teeth. This will make brushing fun because your child will think that they’re not brushing alone.
- Try taking turns with the toothbrush. This will make your child feel more involved and independent. And independent toddlers love doing things by themselves. Just make sure that you get a turn too so you can ensure that their teeth are cleaned properly.
- Tell amusing stories as you brush to make things fun. You can also try telling a story that your baby is familiar with.
- Let your child pick the design of the toothbrush to make the routine more exciting. Trying a fun flavor and color of toothpaste can help too.
Never let your child brush their teeth alone. Always supervise and assist them to make sure that they’re getting the right amount of toothpaste. Since a child’s toothpaste comes in great flavors, make sure that they’re not licking toothpaste from the tube as well.
Continue helping your baby brush their teeth until you’re sure that they can do it properly themselves. This usually be until the age of seven. It is great to develop this habit early. Doing this will make your child have less resistance in doing this routine.
You can start taking care of your baby’s oral health long before their first tooth erupts. You should also not wait for a mouth full of teeth to start brushing. Choosing the right toothbrush for your baby is essential as well.
Brushing your baby’s teeth can be a trial-and-error process. But like many things, practice makes perfect. So it takes time and patience to have that perfect and fun tooth brushing routine.