How to Brush Your Baby's Teeth and Keep them Healthy
Q: When should I start brushing my baby's teeth?
A: It's okay to start taking care of your baby's gums before you see a tooth. There's no need to use toothpaste, just lightly brush the gums, in circular motions with a soft washcloth, gauze or a soft, wet toothbrush. While your baby may not immediately understand why you're brushing, babies do love routines and will start to recognize dental care as part of their day. As soon as you see a tooth, add “brush teeth” to the morning and evening rituals.
Q: What kind of toothpaste should I use, and how much?
A: A tiny smear (about the size of a grain of rice) of toothpaste is ideal. Look for an infant or children's toothpaste suitable for the age of your baby. By the age of 3 years, you can increase the toothpaste to a pea-sized amount. Ask your dentist if you have concerns or questions.
Q: What kind of toothbrush should I use?
A: Your supermarket or drugstore will stock a wide selection of baby toothbrushes, generally separated into baby-, toddler- and child-size. Choose a brush for your baby's age, something with soft bristles, a small head and long handle. Perhaps bring your baby along to the shops, pick out three toothbrushes and let her choose her favorite color.
Q: What time of day is best to brush?
A: Twice a day is ideal — after breakfast and just before bedtime (but after their last feed). This will remove bacteria from food that can turn into damaging plaque which causes decay.
Q: Should I brush my child's teeth or should I let her brush her own teeth?
A: Until your baby can hold a brush confidently, it's best to brush her teeth yourself. Even when she can hold the brush, do stand by and supervise, particularly the brushing, rinsing and spitting process. It is likely she will need a hand to make sure the job is done properly. Generally speaking, by the age of 6 years, your child should be able to brush her teeth by herself.
Q: Are all babies this squirmy and wriggly when it comes to brushing?!
Yes, some babies can definitely fight the toothbrush! For some moms, brushing a baby's teeth can be like wrestling with a snake. Thankfully, we've put together a list of tips and tricks to help your baby enjoy brushing her teeth. Also, a trip to the dentist can be a fun way to teach your child about tooth care.
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