Many parents become concerned about infant oral care once the first tooth erupts. But think of all the objects your infant investigates and puts in their mouth on a daily basis. You can establish a regimen of infant oral care early on, even before that first tooth sprouts. Choosing an infant toothbrush makes it easy to practise good oral care from the start.
Choosing An Infant Toothbrush
The Importance of Infant Oral Care
You should begin oral care as soon as your baby is born. Starting now can help reduce or prevent cavities later. Gently wipe your baby's gums with a moist, clean gauze pad or washcloth.
Your baby isn't born with cavity-causing germs. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, those types of germs are passed on through shared saliva, which can start the process of cavity development even before the teeth erupt. If possible, avoid using your finger as a toothbrush, feeding babies with your spoon, or cleaning off your baby's pacifier in your mouth.
You should schedule your baby's first dental appointment when the first tooth erupts. During that visit, your dental professional will evaluate your child's mouth and teeth development.
Selecting an Infant Toothbrush
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you begin brushing your child's teeth as soon as they erupt (usually around six months). Brushing is essential, because cavities can occur as early as your child's first tooth. There are toothbrushes made for infants and toddlers. They are small and have extra-soft bristles, so they won't irritate your baby's gums. Your dental professional will guide you to the best toothbrush and toothpaste to use. Here are some options to consider:
- Teething brushes for babies and finger toothbrushes for toddlers are great for soothing sore gums during teething. Refrigerate them for added relief. Plus, they help your baby or toddler get used to toothbrushing.
- Choose the right size for your child. Select a toothbrush that fits comfortably in your child's mouth. Infant and toddler toothbrushes usually have smaller, slightly rounder heads.
- Select a baby toothbrush style that has a chunkier handle and a no-slip grip. This helps with manual dexterity and makes it easier for your growing baby to grab and get used to holding on to objects.
- Electric toothbrushes are a great idea as your child grows. You can find musical or cartoon character themed versions for extra fun that will lead to at least twice daily brushing and set them on the way to a good oral care regime.
When to Add Toothpaste
According to the American Dental Association, you should incorporate toothpaste into your child's oral care as soon as the first tooth appears. Use a tiny smear (the size of a grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste for children younger than three years old.
It's never too early to start a good oral care routine. Start right away with your baby. Use the right toothbrush and the right amount of toothpaste. You will enjoy many firsts with your baby, including that first tooth. Make sure to contact your dental care professional for an appointment as soon as it comes in.