How to choose and use your baby’s first toothbrush
It might surprise you to know that even the tiniest of teeth require brushing. Yes, those temporary baby teeth need proper dental care.
Baby teeth are place holders for your child's permanent teeth, so dental care needs to start soon after your baby is born. You can learn how to care for your newborn's mouth in the article How to care for your baby’s gums: A guide for the first year. Use of a toothbrush starts when the first tooth comes in.
Parents are often overwhelmed with decisions about their infants, so trying to decide on the right size and type of toothbrush for a baby can be tricky. Here are a few things that can help you decide which toothbrush is right for your baby.
What is a good toothbrush for babies?
- One commonly used toothbrush for infants is designed to fit over your finger. It is made of rubber and covered in little nubs that are used to brush the teeth and gums. You can switch to a bristled brush when more teeth come in.
- If you use a traditional toothbrush, be sure to find one with a small head so it can easily fit into your infant's mouth. There should be no more than three rows of soft, rounded bristles on the toothbrush.
- A long-handled toothbrush may make it easier to reach the back of your baby's mouth.
How to brush a baby’s teeth
Brushing your child's teeth is almost the same as brushing your own. You can start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as the first one breaks through the gum's surface. You can wait a bit if the tooth is very painful.
- Use only a grain of rice-sized bit of toothpaste. Very little is needed to do the job. Make sure the toothpaste has fluoride, and is recommended by the American Dental Association.
- Brush every side of each tooth: top, cheek-side, tongue-side, and any other sides that are exposed.
- Be sure to brush your baby's gums as well as any teeth.
- It's best to brush your baby's teeth twice a day.
Remember to replace the toothbrush every 10-12 weeks or sooner, if the bristles begin to show signs of wear.
Good dental care will remain important now and in the future. For information on cavities and kids see Tooth decay in children is increasing and it is nothing to smile about.
Buying your baby's first toothbrush and learning to provide good dental care for your little one is not too difficult. Just keep these suggestions in mind and you'll be on your way to helping your child prevent cavities from the very start.