WHEN TO START: It is important to start the brushing routine as soon as your baby’s first tooth appears. It doesn’t hurt to start the routine before you see the first tooth since bacteria are already moving into your baby’s mouth.
HOW TO START: If you’re baby still has a toothless grin, just wrap a soft washcloth around your finger and wipe gently along the gums after each feeding or twice a day. Once that first tooth appears, use a small, soft toothbrush with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to clean the teeth and gums. Brushing the tongue can be hard, but you get bonus points for brushing away extra bacteria! After brushing, wipe away excess toothpaste.
HOW OFTEN, HOW LONG: Twice a day for two minutes, of course! (If this made you groan, read WHEN IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE, below)
FLUORIDE TOOTHPASTE OR NOT? Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens our teeth, making them more resistant to decay. It is absolutely safe to apply to your baby’s teeth, but it could be harmful if your child is eating the toothpaste. That’s why you will sometimes hear recommendations for non-fluoride toothpaste to be used on babies and toddlers. If you feel comfortable that you can wipe away excess toothpaste after brushing, then you don’t need to worry. However, if your child is sucking the toothpaste off the brush and swallowing it, then you may need to consider changing toothpaste or changing brushing methods.
ELECTRIC AND SONIC TOOTHBRUSHES: There are some very cool toothbrushes on the market! They look cool and can potentially raise the quality of the cleaning. Before you buy a special toothbrush for your child, check the age recommendation on the toothbrush. Also, check with Dr. Jamie because she may have recommendations or, even better, a program for earning a free electric or sonic toothbrush!
WHEN IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE: There will be some days that brushing your child’s teeth will seem absolutely impossible. We understand! We aren’t trying to set you up for failure. We will talk about troubleshooting tactics in a future blog. For now, trust us that if you give it an honest effort every single time it will get easier!
OTHER QUESTIONS: When in doubt, talk to Dr. Sahouria! It can be a rewarding and reassuring experience!
Special thanks to our blog writer Susan Akers!