When to start brushing your baby's teeth? A complete guide

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As a parent, everything your baby does is an incredible feat. There are so many milestones that you need to keep an eye out for. The first giggle, the first toothless smile, the first rollover, and finally, the appearance of the first tooth. While your baby would be as happy as you when they grin or mutter gibberish, they won’t be this pleasant when they start teething. Infant teething is a natural process but it causes a lot of discomfort, sleepless nights, and tears for you and the little one.

Another pertinent question that pops up when you see the first tooth appear is ‘when should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?’ Brushing your little one’s teeth when they start appearing is the first step to creating a healthy dental routine, and avoiding oral health-related issues in future. Before we move on to the ‘how’ part of infant oral health care, let’s look at why baby teeth are so important and when’s the right time to start.

Importance of baby’s teeth

Your little one would have a total of 20 primary teeth in the jaw at birth, and these start appearing between four and seven months. However, there’s a wide range of what’s the right time to start teething. Over the next couple of years, your baby’s toothless smile will be replaced by two rows of baby teeth. This includes:

  • Four first molars

  • Four second molars

  • Four cuspids (also known as canine teeth or eyeteeth)

  • Four central incisors

  • Four lateral incisors

Often, people do not pay a lot of attention to baby teeth since they are eventually replaced by permanent ones, but taking care of your baby’s teeth is quite important. Baby teeth act as placeholders for their permanent counterparts and give your little one’s face a normal appearance. Moreover, baby teeth aid speech development and without the presence of healthy teeth, your baby might have trouble chewing. This might prove to be an obstacle in your baby getting the necessary nutrition. Now that you know how important baby teeth are, let’s look at when’s the right time to start brushing your little one’s teeth.

When to begin brushing my baby’s teeth?

Before you start brushing your baby’s teeth, you have to begin with newborn gum care. Use a soft, moistened piece of gauze or washcloth and gently wipe your baby’s gums at least twice a day. Ensure that you wipe your little one’s gums especially after feedings and before bedtime. This keeps bacteria at bay which can damage infant teeth as they cut in. When it comes to brushing your little one’s teeth, your baby’s paediatrician might advise you to wait until the little one has at least four teeth in a row before you can start brushing.

How to brush a baby’s teeth?

So when your tiny tot finally has four teeth in a row, and you decide to start brushing them, you need to choose the right toothbrush. It should have a small head, a soft brush, and a large handle. You can opt for Oral-B Kids Manual Toothbrush. Created with soft, cup-shaped bristles, this manual toothbrush gently cleans your baby’s teeth and the power tip bristles reach the back teeth with ease. When your tiny tot starts brushing on its own, the hand stabilizer keeps the brush steady when it is set down. Now here’s how you go about it:

  • Wet the toothbrush and soak the brush in warm water for a few minutes to soften the bristles even more.

  • When the teeth erupt, you can use a small grain-sized amount of toothpaste to brush your little one’s teeth.

  • When your toddler turns three, you can use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. It is advisable to use fluoride toothpaste since it protects and strengthens the little one’s teeth against tooth decay and the formation of cavities.

  • Also, brush your child’s teeth twice a day; once in the morning and just before bedtime. While you are brushing your little one’s teeth, ensure that you focus a good portion of time on the back molars, where cavities are first to develop.

  • Replace the toothbrush every three-four months or even before that if the toothbrush shows signs of wearing.

When your baby turns three, you can introduce the little one to Oral-B Kids Electric Toothbrush. It has soft bristles that protect your child’s delicate gums, and the small toothbrush head facilitates easy brushing. It removes plaque from your baby’s teeth with ease so that it doesn’t become a tedious task for you.

How to make brushing teeth fun for a baby?

While brushing an infant’s teeth is vital, your child might not always enjoy the process. So, what do you do? You make brushing time fun for your baby. This will help your little one enjoy brushing and you won’t have to deal with any tantrums

  • You know how toddlers love to mimic everything that their parents do. So, you have to lead by example. When your toddler watches you brush, the entire process becomes more interesting for them. To make things more interesting, you can allow your child to brush your teeth while you brush theirs.

  • We all know how kids love their plushies and their toys. So, add them to their brushing routine. Let them carry their toys with them. You can let the little one practice brushing on the toy while you brush their teeth. This would be a fun game and a bit of a distraction for the tiny tot.

  • If your child has a favourite song that puts them in a good mood every time on its own, use that to your advantage. You can either sing the song to your child or put it on for your little one and sing along with it. Encourage your baby to brush along to the song, and if it’s around two minutes long, that’s all you need.

  • Nothing motivates your child to complete a task than getting rewarded for it. Create a progress chart, and every time your child brushes, let them add a sticker to it. This form of visual aid motivates them to stick to the routine and give it their best.

Brushing your child’s teeth won’t be a difficult task once you know the right time to start and how to go about the process.