They say healthy habits are best created at a young age – and when it comes to brushing your teeth, this has never rung more true! Many parents wonder when is the best time to begin brushing your baby’s teeth, and how best to go about it.
Surprisingly enough, it’s strongly recommended by dentists, as well as the Canadian Dental Association, to begin bushing your child’s teeth even before the pearly whites have made an appearance! Sound a bit strange? Let’s take a look at why!
Keeps Bacteria at Bay
Brushing your baby’s gums is a terrific way to ensure that their mouth is staying as clean as possible. Bacteria can live in your child’s mouth (on their gums and tongue) and while it cannot cause immediate damage to teeth that have not yet erupted, it helps ensure that when they do, they have a clean place to call home.
Can Help Soothe the Teething Process
By gently rubbing your baby’s gums, they will become accustomed to your finger in their mouth and the gentle massaging can help alleviate some of the discomfort that comes when they are teething – not such a bad thing since we all know how uncomfortable this can be for babies!
Helps Prevent Future Tooth-Decaying Habits
Tooth decay can occur in any tooth, including baby teeth. Certain habits, such as letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice, can cause decay because the liquid sits on their teeth for extended periods of time. Brushing your baby’s gums before the teeth come in helps ensure that the new teeth won’t be arriving in an environment prone to decay and can help you set habits that won’t promote tooth decay!
Paves a Smoother Road to Brushing
Many children don’t like to brush their teeth. Beginning to brush your baby’s gums will help set a pattern that makes transitioning to a toothbrush and toothpaste much easier. Make it a part of the daily routine and you’ll find that your child may not be so against brushing when the time comes to brush twice a day – and that it will be easier for you to monitor their oral health!
Now that we know why brushing your baby’s teeth is important, let’s take a look at how to go about it!
Before Teeth Emerge
When the teeth are not yet through, use a piece of gauze, washcloth, or baby toothbrush dipped in water to gently rub your baby’s gums. Softly massage the gums and areas between the gum and lip, as well as the tongue. Try to do this at least once a day. Making it a part of the bedtime routine is a great step to maintaining this habit in later years!
The First Tooth
Once your baby’s first tooth as erupted, you can begin using a baby toothbrush and small, grain-of-rice sized amount of toothpaste to clean the mouth. Find a toothpaste without fluoride so that it is safe for your child to swallow. Gently brush the outside and inside of the tooth/teeth as well as the gums and tongue if you can. Try to do this twice a day.
When your child is old enough to spit the toothpaste out, you can begin using toothpaste with fluoride and a soft bristled toothbrush.
Setting healthy habits at a young age will be your best step to ensuring your kids have the best possible start to maintaining a healthy mouth and teeth! Also, be sure to book your baby’s first dental visit before the age of two – this will proactively help keep your child’s oral health in great shape!
Feel free to contact us with any questions or to book your child’s first dental appointment!