When Should I Start Brushing My Baby's Teeth

Baby's Teeth and Gums - Your Guide to a Health Oral Hygiene Routine for your Baby 

There are many opinions on when you should begin introducing toothbrushes into your child’s oral care routine. Some experts recommend starting around the 6-month mark, others suggest waiting until they are eating solid foods. And still other dentists believe that it doesn't matter how early or late in life we introduce our children to dental hygiene practices; all babies need regular cleaning just like adults do!

In this article we are going to explore your options when it comes to your baby's dental hygiene.  We will provide you with a tip sheet or guide to use as a quick reference guide for the do's and do not's of your baby's oral health care.  

When Should You Start Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth? Everything You Need to Know

When Should I Start Brushing My Baby's Teeth

The first thing you need to know about when to start a child brushing your baby's teeth, is that there isn't one right time for this. The best way to approach it is with an open mind and some patience. Just because some moms have started brushing their baby's teeth in your social group, doesn't mean you should feel pressured to do the same. 

Brushing your baby's teeth may seem like a simple task but actually starting children off on good oral hygiene habits can be quite difficult. In fact, many parents find themselves wondering how long they should wait before introducing their kids to toothpaste or even giving them their own toothbrush.

We explore this very question in the following sections.  

When Should I Start Brushing My Baby's Teeth?

Okay - let's get right to it.  When should you start brushing your baby's teeth. 

The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that parents begin tooth brushing their babies at 6 months old, and continue until they are 2 years old or older. The AAP also suggests using a soft-bristled brush with small rounded bristles for this purpose.

But what about when you're not sure if it's time yet? Or maybe you've already started but want more information on how often to do so?

A good rule of thumb is to monitor your baby's gums as they begin to teeth. You'll know this is happening when your little one can't stop putting things in their mouth to massage their itchy gums. They will also become quite irritable and can often be in tears for no apparent reason. 

Once you see those cute little pearly whites coming through, you can begin the dental hygiene routine with your baby. 

In our books, there is no time that is too early to begin brushing your baby's teeth, as you will understand in the next section. 

When do you start brushing your baby's gums? And why should you? 

Now that you have the tooth (or teeth) under control, let's now turn our attention to your baby's gums and the oral hygiene involved. 

[insert quote] - you can begin brushing your baby's gums from as early as three months

In fact, the oral hygiene care for your baby's gums can begin BEFORE your baby's first tooth arrives. From the age of three months, you can begin the process of massaging and wiping clean your baby's gums with a soft damp face cloth. And depending on your schedule, this can be performed as often as twice a day - once in the morning and in the evening. 

In addition, there are benefits to beginning this oral routine from an early age.  When it comes to giving your bubs a toothbrush, the task of looking after their own teeth is no different from any other. 

What is a good dental hygiene routine for babies?

Now that you are familiar with the general rules for brushing your little one's pearly whites, the next natural question is how often should you be cleaning their teeth and gums? 

Fortunately we have put together a general dental routine for you to use.  Of course, this routine is only a guideline, and you can feel free to modify it to suit your needs and time restrictions.  After all, as our favorite motto goes at the Best Baby Care Tips team - every baby is different. 

Here is our recommended dental hygiene habits from when your baby sprouts their first tooth:

  • using a soft toothbrush and some water to lubricate the bristles, brush your baby's tooth/teeth morning and night (preferably after a meal). No toothpaste is necessary, and we generally find the taste can be off-putting for the little one's pallet. 
  • with a moist face cloth, wipe clean and massage your baby's gums.  This can actually be a playful activity with your baby, as they will most likely respond by trying to bite your finger. If they are teething they will also appreciate the gum massage as it will soothe and relieve the itch. 
  • when your baby develops two teeth you can introduce your little one to a flossing routine. Much like you do with your own teeth, use a very fine (unflavored) piece of floss to gently clean in between your baby's two teeth. 
  • don't allow your baby to fall asleep with a bottle of milk (or any kind of drink) in their mouth.  Allowing your baby to fall asleep with liquids that contain sugar will decay their newly sprouted teeth and lead to discoloration and rot. 
  • when your baby is thirsty allow them to drink water rather than fruit juice and bicarbonate drinks.  The sugars in sweetened drinks accelerates the decay of teeth and leaves them prone to cavities. 
  • begin regular visits with a dentist that specializes in family health care and children's dental health from 6 months of age. Forming a good habit of visiting the dentist has many benefits. It allows your baby to become familiar with the dentist.  It will also help to identify any issues early so you can make any necessary corrections. 
when should i start brushing my baby's teeth

What Is The Best Toothbrush For Babies?

The best toothbrushes for babies are soft, gentle and have a rounded tip that won't scratch their gums or tongue. 

All electric toothbrushes should be avoided at all costs.  Even though manufacturers are making eletric toothbrushes for babies and children, they should be avoided with caution.  The vigorous brushing action can potentially hurt and damage your baby's gums and soft teeth. 

Can babies use fluoride toothpaste?

Fluoride toothpaste has been shown to reduce cavities, a problem seen especially in children. However, infants at the age of 6 months or younger should not use fluoride toothpaste because they lack the swallowing reflex and have a different flavor profile than adults. Instead, it is recommended that they use non-fluoride toothpaste that contains 1% of the active ingredient sodium fluoride. Older babies who are able to swallow may still need supervision while brushing their teeth so they don’t swallow any toothpaste.

Key Takeaways from "When Should I Start Brushing my Baby's Teeth?"

Oral health starts in infancy - well before your baby's first tooth appears. Baby teeth are important because they are the first set of teeth your child will have, and these teeth support healthy development of permanent teeth.

The best time to start brushing your infant’s teeth is when the first tooth shows up. You’ll want to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and some water to begin.

To help you along your baby's oral health journey we have provided a visual guide  as a useful reference for the first year of your baby's dental hygiene routine. 

Let us know what problems you have encountered with your baby's teeth and we'll try to help you resolve the issues with the collective wisdom of our Best Baby Care community. 

Article written by Best Baby Care Tips

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