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    When is the right time to start brushing your baby's teeth?

    Written on 6 December 2018

    Start cleaning your baby's teeth twice a day as soon as you see his first little tooth bud emerging. If you start early, your baby will get used to having his teeth cleaned.

    Your baby will eventually have 20 milk teeth, all of which should be through by the time he is about two-and-a-half years old.

    Do I need to buy a toothbrush for my baby?

    At first, you may find it easier to clean your baby's teeth using a soft piece of clean gauze or muslin. Wrap it around your finger, put a tiny smear of toothpaste on it, and rub it around your baby's teeth.

    Traditionally, many mums clean their baby's teeth using their finger directly. If you prefer to do so, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before using them. The best way is to go for a soft silicon finger toothbrush which easily fits into the mother's index finger. Such toothbrushes are easy to clean and comes with soft bristles.

    If you'd rather use a baby toothbrush, pick one with soft nylon bristles and a small head. This will allow you to reach all parts of your baby's mouth easily and comfortably as each new tooth emerges. Look at the packaging to see what age range the brush is designed for.

    Replace your baby's toothbrush regularly, about every one month to three months. If the bristles start to spread out, it's a sign that the toothbrush needs changing.

    How do I clean my baby's teeth?

    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 his last drink.

    You may find that sitting your baby on your lap, facing away from you, helps you reach his teeth more easily.

    When you've finished, make sure your baby spits out the excess toothpaste. Many mums prefer to rinse their baby's mouth with water after a tooth brushing session. You can skip this if you wish, as leaving a bit of toothpaste residue on the teeth makes the toothpaste work better.

    If your baby dislikes having his teeth brushed and squirms away, try giving him his own toothbrush to hold. This way he's more likely to feel in control. You can even let him have a go himself, though he'll need help from you for a while yet.

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