Brushing Baby's Teeth
Brushing your baby's teeth should begin at the gums. Simply wipe them with a wet washcloth or moistened gauze. Infant's teeth do not need a toothbrush; it's too soon for that. Wiping the gums of the currently erupting baby teeth is enough to disturb the most stubborn plaque. "Brush" your baby's teeth or gums twice daily, especially after eating and before bed. Once the baby teeth have erupted completely, you can introduce an appropriate toothbrush. The proper toothbrush should be:
For children younger than three, the ADA recommends only a smear of fluoride toothpaste on the brush. Between the ages of three and six, fluoride toothpaste should be limited to a pea-sized portion to avoid overexposure. If you desire a fluoride-free toothpaste, choose a product such as My First Colgate®, which is safe if swallowed, and comes in fun flavors to make the experience more pleasant.
After your child's first birthday, schedule a visit to the dentist. As your baby grows, caring about his or her dental health is as important as their general health. A healthy mouth that allows for proper development of the teeth and jaw will lead to a lifetime of happy and healthy smiles.
About the author: Donna Rounsaville, RDH, BS, has been a dental hygienist in private practice for 31 years. Her experience in the prevention of dental problems and the importance of healthy eating, she has educated children in local schools in her hometown of Flemington, New Jersey. Donna is also passionate about infection control and office safety for dental workers, providing yearly training to her office colleagues. Active with the Girl Scouts as a leader and with children's liturgy at her church, Donna uses her communication and leadership skills to motivate young people in her community. She has been a writer for Colgate since 2013.