Brushing a Baby’s Teeth | 3 Advantages You Should Know

Last Updated on: 17th June 2024, 08:30 am

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Q.F. Nayibe Cubillos Morales

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Dr. Gustavo Assatourians D.D.S

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Brushing a Baby’s Teeth: Complete Guide

One of the issues that generate the most doubts is dental care for babies: When to start brushing a baby’s teeth? How to do it correctly? How often? What implements to use?  Being a parent is a beautiful and rewarding job for which perhaps no human being is prepared. It is natural to have many questions about the care, feeding, brushing a baby’s teeth, education of children, and so much more. Below are the answers to the questions every parent has.

 

When Should you Start Brushing a Baby’s Teeth?  

brushing-a-babys-teeth

Some pediatricians might recommend starting toothbrushing in children when several teeth have already erupted. However, starting oral hygiene early, before the first teeth appear, has been shown to have multiple benefits.

 

Starting Dental Care Before the Teeth Come in

Here are 3 reasons why it is convenient to start oral hygiene early:

1. Reduces the risk of cavities: After 4 months, temporary teeth could come out at any time, so it is advisable to keep the mouth free of bacteria to prevent cavities.

2. Reduces the probability that the child hates brushing time: Accustoming children to the use of a brush, toothpaste, and other oral hygiene implements from a very young age is quite useful to prevent them from feeling frightened, invaded, or in the future. attacked while trying to perform oral hygiene.

3. Create the habit: Having good oral hygiene habits is essential to avoid suffering from dental problems throughout life. The earlier the habit is created, the easier it will be to maintain it.

 

How to Take Care of the Gums of Babies Before their Teeth Come out?

After feeding, it is ideal to gently clean the baby’s gums, cheeks, and tongue with the index finger wrapped in a clean moistened gauze or washcloth. Another option is to use a silicone thimble brush, which can be found in pharmacies or chain stores.

It is advisable to perform hygiene in this way at least twice a day: in the morning when you wake up, and before bed.

 

If the Baby is not yet Eating Solid Food, Should I Brush his Teeth?  

The answer is yes. One of the main causes of cavities (holes in the teeth) is prolonged contact of the teeth with food debris, including formula milk, breast milk, and fruit juices, among others.

brushing a baby's teeth

Although the mentioned foods are very nutritious, they shouldn’t remain in prolonged contact with the child’s teeth, since they contain a certain degree of sugar that, when broken down by the bacteria that are in the mouth, generates the presence of acids that form cavities. The best way to avoid this is tooth brushing.

 

How Often Should a Baby’s Teeth be Brushed?

For the reasons mentioned above, it is advisable to brush the baby’s teeth at least twice a day: in the morning and at night, just before bed. It is important that after brushing the teeth at night, no more food or drinks are ingested before bed.

 

Which Toothpaste Should I use?  

which toothpaste?

Fluoride is an element that strengthens teeth and protects them from decay when applied topically, but it should never be ingested because it can cause problems in the formation of teeth and bones (fluorosis). For this reason, between 0 and 2 years of age, the use of fluoride toothpaste is not advisable, since babies do not know how to spit yet and could ingest it.

During this stage, the most important thing is the removal of bacterial plaque and food debris with the brush using only water or fluoride-free toothpaste, which, in addition to reducing the risk of cavities, will accustom the child to oral hygiene instruments.

It is possible that in some cases where babies have a higher risk of cavities due to problems in the formation of teeth or excessive consumption of medications with high sugar content, the dentist recommends the use of fluoride cream before 2 years of age.

For this reason, it is important to take the baby to his first dental visit as soon as his first tooth erupts or he turns one year of age, whichever comes first. The professional will indicate the most appropriate toothpaste for the baby according to his needs.

Using carbon-based toothpaste is not advisable for babies due to potential concerns for their dental care.

 

What is the Most Appropriate Toothbrush for a Baby?

It is advisable to use brushes with small heads and large handles, to be able to manipulate them easily. It must have soft bristles, and it must be replaced once every 3 months or after suffering from viral diseases.

 

How to Brush Milk Teeth?

In the case of using toothpaste, it is advisable to place a small amount, the size of a grain of rice, on the brush, without moistening it. Then, make circular movements, gently massaging all surfaces of the teeth and gums.

What to do if a baby hates brushing his teeth?
Here are three tips that can help:

Imitation: Imitation is a basic and essential skill for the development of habits in children. Allowing the baby to watch his parents brush their teeth is the best way to motivate him since he will see it as a normal and harmless act, and at some point, he will want to try it too.

Sing a song: There are many songs about toothbrushing on YouTube, Spotify, and other music platforms. One option to make dental hygiene time more fun is to select one of these songs and sing it while brushing the baby’s teeth. This will help make it a fun time and time goes by faster.

Catchy implements: On the market, there are toothbrushes with various motifs, as well as creams in colorful containers decorated with different characters. Selecting a toothbrush or toothpaste decorated with the child’s favorite character or colors that are striking can make the baby associate the moment of toothbrushing with a pleasant moment.

 

Conclusion

The dental care of babies should start as early as possible to establish the habit of both going to the dentist and performing oral hygiene. Ideally, oral hygiene should be carried out before the first tooth emerges, so that once they emerge, they find a clean mouth and thus reduce the risk of cavities.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should You Start Brushing Your Baby’s First Teeth?

Begin brushing your baby’s teeth the moment they start to emerge. Opt for a baby toothbrush and a small smear of fluoride toothpaste. Initially, it might be challenging to brush effectively, but the key is to familiarize your baby with tooth brushing as a regular part of their daily routine.

Initially, there is no requirement for toothpaste or other products in your baby’s mouth. When your baby starts teething, it’s advisable to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. At first, just water is sufficient for brushing. However, once your baby has several teeth, you should begin incorporating a tiny smear of toothpaste into their brushing routine.

Although baby teeth are present in your child’s jaws from birth, it is recommended to start oral care before the first tooth emerges. Dentists advise that caring for the gums and future teeth should begin early to establish healthy oral hygiene habits.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for preventing cavities, ensuring proper growth, and establishing positive oral care habits. Additionally, it’s important to remove bottles or nipples from your baby’s mouth while they sleep to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. The Super Dentists recommend beginning to clean your baby’s gums shortly after birth to promote healthy oral development.

If residues from breast milk or formula are left in your baby’s mouth for extended periods, bacteria can flourish in their sugary saliva. This environment can lead to fungal infections. It is common for babies to have a discolored or white tongue after nursing, as milk residue tends to adhere to their tongues.

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References

1. Crider, C. (Mar 29, 2022). When to Start Brushing Baby Teeth. Healthline. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/brushing-baby-teeth

2. Watson. (Jul 12, 2012). Baby Teeth Care: Brushing First Teeth, Teething, Gum Care, and More. WebMD. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/caring-babies-teeth

3. Mark. (Feb 1, 2019). Your child’s teeth. JADA. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(18)30788-8/fulltext

4. NHS website. (May 17, 2022). Looking after your baby’s teeth. nhs.uk. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/babys-development/teething/looking-after-your-babys-teeth/

5. Paglia, L. (Mar 01, 2017). Caring for baby’s teeth starts before birth. European Journal of Pediatric Dentistry, 18(1), 5-5.

6. Lowe, A. (Aug 22, 2017). Keeping children’s teeth healthy. Journal of Health Visiting, 5(8), 398-400.

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