When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?
Ok, so even though babies are not born with teeth, it’s never too soon to start thinking about your baby’s dental care. Before their first dental visit, which should happen around one year of age, it is important to get clued up on your role as a parent to keep your child’s mouth healthy and introduce them to good oral hygiene.
It can be overwhelming to think of incorporating yet another item into your baby’s daily routine. But, learning how to brush your baby’s teeth will have lifelong benefits for your child. We promise they’ll thank you when they’re older!
Wondering where to start? You aren’t alone. Even experienced parents find themselves swapping ideas for how to coax a little one to use a toothbrush. But what comes before that? And how important is oral hygiene for a baby? Keep reading for the scoop on brushing your baby’s teeth!
Start caring for your baby’s gums immediately
Use a soft, moistened washcloth or piece of gauze to gently wipe your baby’s gums at least twice per day. There is no wrong time to brush but it is especially important after feedings and before bedtime.
Graduate to a toothbrush when your baby’s first teeth erupt (usually around 6 months)
Use a soft, small brush head and just water to start. Gradually, you can add a small smear of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. Brush gently around all their teeth and gums – front, back, and chewing/biting surfaces.
Avoid allowing your baby to fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice
When a baby falls asleep drinking fluids, it allows the drinks to sit in their mouth longer, which can lead to increased bacteria and problems later on. Even babies can get cavities! These usually appear as brown or white spots or pits on the teeth.
Plan your baby’s first dental visit
If you or your pediatrician notice any problems, take your child to a pediatric dentist. Otherwise, it is recommended to visit the dentist for the first time by age 1. Pediatric dentists can give advice about tooth care, teething, thumb sucking, and nutrition.
As a parent, you can set the tone for how your child will approach oral hygiene as they grow. When you make it a priority, they will learn to make it one too! Keep it fun, gentle, and relaxed – don’t worry about harming your baby’s gums, but as always, if you are concerned, please consult your pediatrician or pediatric dentist. Happy brushing!