Dental care for baby teeth can start before your baby’s first tooth appears. A couple of times a day, you can gently wipe your baby’s gums using a damp, clean face washer or gauze. This helps your baby get ready for brushing when the first tooth arrives.
As soon as teeth arrive, you can clean them twice a day – in the morning and before bed. Use a small, soft toothbrush designed for children under two years. If your baby doesn’t like the toothbrush in her mouth, keep using the face washer or gauze to wipe the front and back of each of your baby’s teeth.
Use only water on the toothbrush until your baby is 18 months old, unless a dentist tells you to do something else.
The best way to clean your baby’s teeth
- Position your baby so you can see his mouth, and he feels secure. It might help to sit on a bed or the floor with your baby lying down so that his head is on your lap.
- Cup your baby’s chin in your hands, with her head resting against your body.
- Lift your baby’s lip to clean his teeth using soft, circular motions.
- Make sure you spend time on the front and back of each tooth and also the gum line.
If your baby doesn’t like having her teeth brushed, you could try make brushing more fun by singing songs or letting your baby play with a toy. Even a quick attempt at brushing is better than nothing, so your child starts to learn that brushing is a normal part of her daily routine.
Keeping the toothbrush clean
After cleaning your baby’s teeth and gums, rinse the toothbrush with tap water.
Store the toothbrush upright in an open container to allow it to air-dry.
You should replace toothbrushes every 3-4 months, or when the bristles get worn or frayed.
Preventing early tooth decay
Teeth cleaning alone isn’t a guarantee against tooth decay. Diet and the way you feed your baby are also important.
Babies aged 0-6 months need only breastmilk or formula. Breastfed and formula-fed babies older than six months can also have small amounts of water. Avoid giving your baby sugary drinks. Once you introduce solids, also avoid giving your baby foods high in sugar.
Don’t put your baby to sleep with a bottle. When your baby is asleep, there’s less saliva in his mouth to protect his teeth. If your baby falls asleep with a bottle, formula or milk might slowly drip into your baby’s mouth and soak his teeth. This puts him at risk of tooth decay. Also note that putting your baby to sleep with a bottle is a choking risk.
If your baby likes a dummy, don’t dip it in food and liquids like honey and sugar.
To make sure your baby’s teeth and gums are healthy, it’s a good idea for her to see the dentist when she’s about 12 months old or when her first tooth comes through, whichever happens first. You can also contact Dr. KRINITA MOTWANI'S DENTAL CLINIC to book an appointment on your schedule.