Somes babies are born with teeth and others won’t get their first gnasher until after they’ve blown out that first birthday cake candle. If you’re currently in the midst of the sleepless nights, biting and grumpiness associated with teething, you may be wondering whether it’s time to start brushing your baby’s teeth.
Until your baby has his first tooth, there’s no need to invest in a toothbrush. You can use a clean piece of gauze or soft cloth to gently wipe your baby’s gums though you won’t need to use any toothpaste just yet. Dentists recommend doing this when your baby starts showing signs of teething, to remove plaque that could potentially harm the emerging teeth.
What you’ll need
Your baby’s first tooth will probably be one of the front bottom teeth. Once it’s here, you’ll need to start taking care of it. If you want, you can continue using a clean piece of gauze or soft cloth to gently wipe your baby’s gums, though this time you’ll need to use toothpaste.
If you prefer, you can invest in your baby’s first toothbrush at this time. Your baby’s brush should have soft bristles on a small head. Ask your dentist or pharmacist for advice, they should have a selection of brushes for babies. It’s a good idea to invest in two brushes, you never quite know when your baby is going to throw her brush in the toilet.
Check with your dentist for advice about which toothpaste to buy. Whether you need added fluoride can depend upon the area you live in, fluoride is sometimes but not always present in the water supply. If you are advised to use a fluoride toothpaste, only put a small amount (around the size of a grain of rice) on the brush. It can be harmful to children to swallow too much fluoride and, unsurprisingly, babies aren’t great at spitting on demand.
How to clean your baby’s teeth
You’ll need to brush your baby’s teeth twice a day, so get into the habit of that early on. It’s a good idea to let your baby see you cleaning your teeth, so he can get used to the idea of teeth cleaning. Try sitting your baby on your lap, facing away from you. Start brushing with gentle circular movements. Remember, your baby may have sore gums thanks to teething so be very gentle.
If your baby doesn’t like having his teeth brushed, give him his own toothbrush to play with. That way he can have a go himself though you’ll still need to help out for a couple more years.
When should my baby go to the dentist?
It’s a good idea to take your baby with you to each dental appointment. This gives your baby the chance to get used to visiting the dentist. Your dentist may offer to quickly check your baby’s teeth at your appointments, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about infant dental hygiene.
Does your baby enjoy having his teeth cleaned?
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.