Once your baby starts developing teeth, you’ll want to start cleaning them. The earlier you start, the better. But how do you clean their baby teeth without injuring the gums? And how do you take care of your baby’s teeth?
When babies get their first teeth, they don’t usually require a lot of things to keep them clean. But as they grow, so will their dental hygiene needs. That said, here are some things to keep in mind when cleaning your baby’s teeth:
For babies, keep things soft and simple
When taking care of your baby’s oral health, the best thing to do is to keep it as simple as possible. Too much of the harsh stuff could harm your child’s gums and damage the developing teeth. Children under 18 months typically don’t need toothpaste, so, for the most part, all you need is a soft cloth and water. A good cleaning twice a day could help remove any plaque buildup. Typically, you’d want to clean their teeth once in the morning and once at night, after they had their last bottle.
Aside from soft cloth, you can also make use of a small, soft-bristled toothbrush for children to clean your baby’s teeth. Usually, packages indicate which age demographic the toothbrush caters too, so if you’re unsure whether it’s safe to use for your child, a quick scan should be enough. If you do decide to use a toothbrush, make sure you change it every one to three months.
From infancy to age three, you’ll often do the toothbrushing. To make things easier, you can sit your child on your lap facing away from you. Be gentle when you do brush their teeth, and use circular movements on the area where the gums and teeth adjoin.
Over time, you might want to let your child brush their teeth by themselves. Aside from teaching them how to care for themselves, it also allows them to clean the way they want to, making the experience more pleasant.
As they grow up, upgrade to low-fluoride toothpaste
Once your child turns 18 months, you can graduate from water to low-fluoride toothpaste. Young children typically don’t need too much fluoride, as it could cause illnesses like diarrhea or mottling on the teeth. If they do attempt to eat the toothpaste from the tube, discourage it as much as possible. You may also use a minty flavor to dissuade them from overconsumption.
When you do make use of toothpaste, less is usually more. The amount should be enough to cover the teeth thinly. When they finally reach three years of age, they can finally use the family toothpaste without worrying about the fluoride content. At this age, you can upgrade their toothpaste usage to a pea-sized amount to accommodate their growing teeth.
After brushing their teeth, encourage them to spit out the toothpaste to prevent them from swallowing it. If your child is younger than three, don’t rinse their mouth with water, as this will wash away the fluoride film. When they are three years and older, however, rinsing the mouth is entirely welcome.