Brushing Your Baby’s and Toddler’s Teeth?
Even before you see any teeth in the baby’s mouth it is important to wipe your baby’s mouth with a soft cloth twice a day to remove bacteria, and to get the baby used to cleaning their mouth.
It is important to use a really soft cloth and to only do it twice a day, as excess cleaning can irritate the baby’s gums and cause tenderness and irritation.
As soon as the baby gets their first tooth you should start brushing the teeth with a soft small toothbrush and cold water.
It is best to lie them in your lap, or a bed, or the changing table. Support the head from behind by wrapping the arm around the head and whilst gently cupping the chin and opening the mouth. Use soft circular motion to clean the teeth and gently massaging the gums whilst brushing. At the start you should only use a soft toothbrush and cold water.
Once the child is 18 months old then you can start using a toothpaste. Sometimes brushing your child’s teeth twice a day can be a big hassle with all the crying, kicking and screaming. It may seem that it is not worth it, until you are aware what harm lack of brushing can do.
A diet high in sugary lollies, chocolate, cakes, soft drinks, lack of brushing, lack of visits to the dentist can result in your child having severe decay which can result in bad breath, pain, black or brown teeth. Sometimes children under two and three can end up having many fillings or extractions and end up needing a general anaesthetic to have their teeth removed. This can have many social ramifications for the child and is also a potentially life threatening procedure.
Remember, you are maintaining a healthy mouth for your child by regular brushing and healthy eating. So fight through the tantrums and the kicking and screaming and do some simple things to make brushing a more positive experience for your child.
Make brushing a game; brush your teeth in front of the child, so they understand that everyone does it, and it is normal to brush your teeth twice a day; look for fun products that will help, like spiderman and dora; play a song from you tube or google during brushing, which will help them stick to the two-minute regime; supervise their brushing until they are 8-9 years of age.
JK Dental recommends using a small soft toothbrush that will fit in easily inside the mouth of the child and be able to reach the back molar teeth whilst being gentle on the gums.