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      Baby Oral Care: When to Start Brushing Baby's Teeth

      Dental Health

      Baby Oral Care: When to Start Brushing Baby's Teeth

      Updated on 20 December 2022

      There are numerous milestones that parents look forward to during the first year of their baby’s life. From the first smile to the first word to the first tooth, there are so many moments that make it to your baby’s memory book. But one event that often gets overlooked is the first time you brush your baby’s teeth. Establishing good dental hygiene is essential for protecting your baby’s teeth and smile. So, let’s find out when to start brushing baby’s teeth, how to brush them and what products are safe for your baby.

      When Should You Begin Brushing Baby Teeth?

      You should start cleaning your baby's teeth twice a day as soon as you see the first little tooth bud emerging. Alternatively, you can start their oral care even before the first tooth has emerged by taking care of their gums. If you start early, your baby will get used to the practice of dental care and hygiene.

      How to Brush Baby’s Teeth?

      How you brush your baby’s teeth will depend on your baby’s age and the number of teeth they have.

      Before your child has teeth

      At first, you may find it easier to clean your baby's gums using a soft piece of clean gauze or muslin. Additionally, you may want to try a finger brush and some water to wipe your baby’s gums and clear any bacterial buildup.

      After your child has teeth, but before they can spit

      You can continue to use a finger brush or your finger to clean your baby’s teeth. The best way is to go for a soft silicon finger toothbrush which easily fits into your index finger. Such toothbrushes are easy to clean and come with soft bristles.

      You can use toothpaste about the size of a rice grain if your baby is under age 3. Make sure their mouth is facing downwards so the toothpaste can dribble into the sink. You can also encourage your child to spit the toothpaste if they are able.

      Signs of Tooth Decay in Your Baby

      Tooth decay happens when germs in the mouth create plaque on the tooth surface and over time cause cavities. Tooth decay can be hard to spot in early stages but here are some signs of tooth decay in your baby’s teeth:

      • Appearance of a dull, white band along the base of the teeth
      • Brown spots on the teeth
      • Red or swollen gums
      • Blackened holes in the teeth
      • Lumps or pimples on the gums

      Can Babies Use Fluoride Toothpaste?

      Fluoride toothpaste is absolutely safe to use on your baby’s teeth. However, you must use it in the recommended amount, which is not more than the size of a rice grain. It’s important to supervise your baby when they’re using toothpaste. There’s no need to use toothpaste until your baby’s teeth start to appear above the gumline.

      How to Brush Your Baby's Teeth When They Refuse?

      Try to get into the habit of brushing your baby's teeth twice a day. Do it once in the morning, at a time that fits in with your usual routine. The second clean should be before bed after your baby's had their last drink. You may find that sitting your baby on your lap, facing away from you, helps you reach your baby’s teeth more easily.

      If your baby dislikes having his teeth brushed and squirms away, try giving them their own toothbrush to hold. This way they’re more likely to feel in control. You can even let them try to clean their teeth themselves, though they’ll need help from you for a while yet.

      You can also buy an attractive toothbrush that lights up. At the end of a successful brushing session, try rewarding them.

      Baby Oral Care Kit

      You can prepare a baby oral care kit which contains all the products you need to clean your baby’s teeth and establish their dental hygiene routine.

      Products to help your baby's healthy oral care

      1. Washcloth

      Before your baby’s teeth appear above the gumline, it’s best to use a washcloth to clean their gums. This will help them get used to the idea of cleaning their mouth and also keep their gums bacteria-free.

      2. Finger Toothbrush

      Once your baby’s above 3 months or has started teething, you may want to switch to a finger toothbrush. A gentle silicone finger toothbrush has super soft bristles and can help removing any oral or milk stains.

      3. Tongue Cleaner

      Most finger toothbrushes come with a tongue cleaner on the backside, which you can use to clean your baby’s tongue. With rounded dots on their surface, the tongue cleaner is gentle yet effective.

      4. Carry Case

      Make sure to keep your baby’s oral care products in a carry case so they don’t catch any dirt or germs when not in use.

      5. Toothpaste

      Once your baby has a few teeth, you can start using toothpaste to clean their teeth. Remember, to use only rice grain-sized toothpaste.

      Final Thoughts

      Now that you know when to start brushing your baby’s teeth, you can start to inspire good dental hygiene in your child even before they are old enough to spit out toothpaste. No need to wait for a mouthful of teeth to start brushing. Establishing baby oral care early in life will protect your baby’s teeth and give them a sparkling smile.

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