Creating good dental hygiene habits early in your child’s life is essential to the health of his or her teeth, even when your infant doesn’t have any. By starting now, you can set the foundation for your son or daughter’s oral health later on in life.
When do I start?
The best time to begin brushing your baby’s teeth is before that first tooth ever comes in. Wipe your little one’s gums gently with a soft washcloth soaked in warm water every day. Not only will this help to get rid of bacteria in the mouth, but it will also familiarize your child with a daily brushing routine.
What do I use?
When your child’s teeth begin to emerge, it’s time to switch to a baby toothbrush. Select one with a big grip for your hand and a small head that’s easy to maneuver in your baby’s mouth.
Your little one won’t need toothpaste until he or she is about a year old; and even then, only a small amount is necessary. Apply an amount the size of a grain of rice and move to a pea-sized amount when your infant is about two years old.
By around six years, your child will probably rinse and spit without your help. At this time, you may introduce a child-friendly fluoride mouthwash.
How do I do it?
Until about age five or six, it’s likely your child will still need your help with brushing teeth. Gently scrub over all the teeth and gums, even where teeth have yet to come in. It may be helpful to explain what you are doing and how you are doing it, so your toddler can learn to brush her or his teeth alone.
Paired with regular visits with Dr. Kristen Erskin at our Kansas City office, proper hygiene habits instilled in your child early on will set up a good foundation for a healthy mouth in the future.