Brushing Baby Teeth

Brushing your teeth is an important aspect of dental hygiene which ensures that your teeth remain in tip top condition. This is just as important for babies and children, and in fact, is particularly important as the younger they are when they start to care for their teeth the less chance of dental problems later on.

The importance of brushing your teeth

It is a great idea to encourage your baby or toddler to brush their teeth as soon as they are able as it means them learning good habits early on which will stay with them into adulthood. Plus there is the fact that even babies can get tooth decay so the sooner your baby or toddler cares for their teeth the less chance of this occurring.

And let's not forget that visiting the dentist has become more expensive over the years so anything which reduces the number of visits and the strain on your purse is very welcome.

But at what age do you start brushing your baby's teeth?

Once your baby's teeth have started to appear you can then start cleaning them. If the first tooth has come through, usually at the age of three months or later, then give this a clean as your baby will be too young to do him/her self. You can use a soft brush but if your baby is not keen on this then wipe their teeth and gums with a soft cloth. They will be ready to clean their own teeth at the age of 18 months to two years old. If your own little man or lady has seen you clean your teeth then they will probably want to try for themselves but expect them to get the toothpaste anywhere but on their teeth! It will be a case of 'creative toothbrushing' to start with but be patient with your budding Picasso as they will soon become used to doing this.

Tooth brushing for babies

Use a soft brush which is specially designed for baby teeth and squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto this brush. When we say a 'small amount', we mean a tiny blob which is no larger than a one pence coin.

Start by brushing your baby's or toddler's teeth for themselves but then allow them to have a go but under your supervision. Show him/her how to move the toothbrush around their teeth but don't expect them to learn the correct technique right away. Just allow them to have a bit of fun while doing so and become used to moving the brush around their teeth and gums.

It is important that they learn how to do this so why not make it into a game and then praise them afterwards. Encourage them to brush their teeth twice a day and limit the amount of sweets or sugary foods they eat.

Should you use fluoride toothpaste?

A fluoride toothpaste helps to protect the teeth against decay although you may want to check with your dentist first. Your dentist will be able to advise you about the suitability of certain toothpastes such as fluoride ones for babies and toddlers. Too much fluoride is bad for the teeth as it can lead to a condition called 'fluorosis' in which the baby teeth become discoloured or pitted due to an excess intake of fluoride.