As a parent, you want to give your baby the very best start in life. Part of that is taking care of their oral health from an early age. Even though your baby may not have teeth yet, starting a brushing routine as soon as possible is important so they get used to it. Here’s what you need to know about brushing your baby’s teeth:
When to start brushing
You should start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as their first tooth appears, which is usually around six months. In the meantime, you can clean their gums with a soft, damp cloth or gauze after feeding.
How to brush
Use a soft-bristled baby toothbrush with a small head and large handle, so it’s easy for you to grip it. Use a small amount (about the size of a grain of rice) of baby toothpaste with fluoride and gently brush their teeth and surrounding gums using circular motions for 2 minutes. Be sure to brush any back teeth that have come through, as this is where cavities are most likely to develop.
You don’t need to rinse your baby’s mouth after brushing, but you can give them sips of water if they want it.
How often do I need to brush my baby’s teeth?
You should brush your baby’s teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. You may also want to brush their teeth after meals, especially if they have eaten something sugary.
Establishing a brushing routine early on is essential, so your baby gets used to it. You can make tooth brushing fun by singing a song, making silly faces, or giving your baby a toothbrush to play with while you brush their teeth.
Tips for keeping your baby’s teeth healthy
In addition to brushing, there are other things you can do to keep your baby’s teeth healthy:
- Limit sugary drinks and snacks. Avoid giving your baby sugary drinks like juice, and limit snacks that are high in sugar.
- Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle. Milk or formula can pool in your baby’s mouth, leading to tooth decay. If your baby needs a bottle to sleep, fill it with water instead.
- Take your baby to the dentist. The NHS suggest taking your baby to the dentist when their first milk teeth appear. This will allow your baby to get used to the environment, and they can advise you on how to prevent decay and identify any issues early on.