Unfortunately, it is common for baby (primary) teeth to be neglected due to people making the excuse “they will fall out eventually”. This is a bad notion to go by. Baby teeth need the upmost care just like permanent teeth. Baby teeth are tasked with a very important function- which is space maintenance for the adult teeth. If oral hygiene is lacking, you are creating an infectious environment for permanent teeth to grow into.
When Should You Start Brushing Baby Teeth?
Even though, the first tooth does not emerge for months after the baby is born, it is still beneficial to start practicing oral hygiene early.
Babies accumulate bacteria in their mouth especially from left over milk and formula. Whipping or gently massaging with a finger brush is an efficient way to reduce bacteria formation. Getting into the habit of doing this will prepare your child for brushing when they are older.
Teething is the process of the primary teeth emerging and can begin as early as three months old. Once the first tooth is fully erupted, it is important to transition to a baby tooth brush.
What Toothbrush Should You Buy?
Many toothbrushes are being advertised but which one is the best? It completely depends on you and your child. Since there is a wide array of products, pick one that best fits your functionality needs.
There are some key components to keep in mind when purchasing:
- Make sure you are picking a toothbrush specifically for a kid. Adult toothbrushes are large and will not fit comfortable in a child’s mouth.
- Stay away from electric toothbrushes for the time being. Electric toothbrushes are safe for three years old and above.
- Choose a brush head made from silicone or soft bristles. Silicone can double as a teething toy but as long as the materials are soft, it will be suitable. Refrain from hard bristles because it can cause damage from abrasive friction.
- A bigger handle (base) allows the child to grasp on and go through the brushing movements with you. This is a great example of positive reinforcement and will make the oral hygiene routine more enjoyable.
The Truth about Toothpaste…
The transition to toothpaste will depend on the child. “Training toothpaste” is perfect for cleaning the teeth and most importantly, it is fluoride free. At such a young age, children subconsciously swallow toothpaste. This is why it is important you select a fluoride free toothpaste. Consuming high amounts of fluoride this young can have adverse effects. Talk to your dentist before introducing toothpaste-containing fluoride.
For 0-3 years old, you should be using about a rice grain amount of toothpaste. From ages 3-6 years old you can use about a pea size amount of toothpaste. Children do NOT need a full amount like adults. Additionally, children should be having their teeth brushed for two minutes twice a day.
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