Since all babies are different and so their growth period also varies – there is no standard defined time when exactly to start brushing your baby’s teeth. According to the experts, we should start brushing baby’s teeth as soon as the first tooth pokes out. I personally started using a tooth brush when my kid was almost fifteen months old. Till then I was using fingers to clean his gums and teeth. According to American Dental Association, tooth decay can happen as soon as the first baby tooth comes in, so it’s important to have that baby toothbrush in hand and ready to clean. It is said that it is never too early to introduce your baby to good habits, also by starting early with brushing baby’s gums, you are doing your part to avoid future dental problems.
Many parents are of the opinion that these baby teeth are not important as they will eventually be replaced by permanent ones. But these first teeth preserve the spacing for the permanent ones and help baby chew and talk. If they’re not cared for properly they can decay, leading to infections in baby’s mouth which can affect the spacing of permanent teeth. Use a soft, clean and warm washcloth, wrap it around your finger and softly wipe off baby’s gums. At this stage toothpaste is not necessary. You can use toothpaste once you start using a toothbrush to brush your baby’s teeth. Don’t forget to wipe clean the tongue and if you can get in there don’t forget to gently wipe inside of your baby’s cheeks. These are all places where bacteria can grow. Once you start using a toothbrush, the following tips and tricks might help you make the brushing process little easier:
- Make brushing teeth a family affair: Seeing mom or dad brushing encourages kids. You can make a game out of tooth-brushing time. “Mom goes first… now your turn!”
- Go easy: Being gentle is the key to brush your baby’s teeth. Once you have the toothbrush ready, gently approach baby’s mouth and brush the inside and outside of each tooth.
- Make brushing fun: Bring in bright or attractive looking toothbrush or any character that your kid likes. Seeing a familiar face on the toothbrush may ease the apprehension regarding putting brush into the mouth.
- Entertain kids during brushing time: Make them stand in front of a mirror. Babies will not only see themselves and will love it too; they will also begin to see how this whole tooth brushing thing is done. All kids love music, break out some tooth tunes to jam with baby while brushing. Learn some easy dance steps that will keep baby entertained while he or she is brushing teeth.
- Keep changing baby’s toothbrush every 3 months. This should be applicable to all members in the family. One should not wait till the toothbrush wears out.
Baby teeth may be small but they are important. The above tips and tricks may look like a task for parents but that’s a small price to pay to ensure good dental hygiene in kids since initial days.