At Oral Health Associates, we understand that your baby’s healthy smile starts at day one. From that day forward, it’s important to clean your baby’s gums, even if his or her teeth haven’t erupted yet. When the teeth finally erupt, you’ll need to brush them for your child as well. This may be a new process for some, so as your trusted kid’s dentist in Green Bay, WI, we’d like to explain how best to brush your baby’s teeth.
When to Brush Your Baby’s Teeth
Even if your baby’s teeth have not emerged yet, you should still clean the inside of his or her mouth to prevent bacterial build-up. A baby’s teeth will generally start to appear at around six months of age (although some may take several months longer). You should begin brushing your baby’s teeth on a regular basis(twice per day) as soon as you notice that the teeth have erupted.
Before Your Baby’s Teeth Emerge
Even though your baby doesn’t have any teeth, you’ll still have to clean their gums. The American Dental Association recommends cleaning your baby’s gums regularly a few days after their birth. Bacteria can grow on their gums and cause irritation from formula and breast milk. We recommend using a clean, damp washcloth to gently wipe away any food or bacteria on the gums. You’ll want to do this after each of your baby’s feedings.
How to Brush Your Baby’s Teeth
Pick out a toothbrush with a smaller head so you can reach all the areas inside your baby’s mouth. For the first few months, many parents will use a rubber finger toothbrush that tends to be more gentle on the baby’s sensitive gums. Only use a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste ( a thin smear) as you’re brushing your baby’s teeth so your baby isn’t exposed to too much fluoride. Make sure to brush your baby’s teeth gently on both the inside and outside of their teeth so you can remove any remaining food particles or bacteria. Because you’re using a very small amount of toothpaste, you won’t have to rinse your baby’s mouth afterward. Also, flossing is unnecessary because the teeth of babies are usually far enough apart that food won’t get trapped between them.
When Can Your Child Start Brushing Their Own Teeth?
Your child will likely want to brush their own teeth as soon as they are strong enough to pick up a toothbrush. Allowing them to brush their own teeth will encourage long-term oral hygiene habits. Just be sure to check their work after they are done.
When to Schedule A Baby’s First Visit to the Dentist
A baby’s first visit to a family dentist should be at about the age of one (or six months after the first teeth appear). If you’d like to schedule an appointment for your child, we encourage you to give us a call at (920) 437-3376 or fill out our online Request an Appointment! form. We can’t wait to see you and set your child on the path toward a lifetime of great oral hygiene.