It’s a good idea to introduce the concept of brushing/cleaning your child’s teeth early, so that your infant begins to learn – and embrace – good oral habits at a young age. It’s never too soon to start – even before the first baby teeth come in! Parents can massage baby’s gums using a wet washcloth to gently clean the gum area in the morning and at night, after feedings.
As soon as the first tooth comes in, you can begin to use an infant toothbrush, with a small head and soft bristles. Help your child learn to brush the top and bottom teeth using water and a toothbrush alone, or with a gentle toddler training toothpaste (fluoride free). It’s suggested to avoid using toothpaste containing fluoride until after the age of two, or until your toddler has mastered the art of spitting the toothpaste out of his/her mouth. Children should not be allowed to swallow toothpaste with fluoride because it can cause enamel fluorosis, which is a condition that can damage or discolor the enamel of permanent teeth.
Your toddler will likely want to brush their own teeth (this is the age they are testing and learning independence), but you should stand close by to lend a hand and offer support.
If you’re having a difficult time getting your child excited about brushing his/her teeth, there are ways to help make it fun, so it doesn’t seem like a chore. Look for a fun toothbrush for your tot that plays music, has flashing lights, or which features the child’s favorite colors or characters.
You can also show your child videos of their favorite animated characters brushing, read a book about brushing teeth, sing songs about brushing teeth, or brush with your child so they can see how fun it can be!
Most experts agree that you should schedule an appointment for your child to see a pediatric dentist any time after that first tooth comes in, and before the child’s first birthday. Your dentist can also provide helpful tips to make brushing become a fun habit.
Please feel welcome to contact us if you have any questions.