Taking care of baby's teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts in the mouth is very important to prevent decay occurring in teeth later in life. There is a lot of confusion in parents regarding how to clean the teeth, which brush to use, and which paste to use. Read on to solve all your queries!
Ideally you should start brushing even before the teeth have erupted, when the baby is 3-4 month old. Gently cleaning the gum pads and tongue with gauze wrapped around the finger helps in cleaning mouth. Massaging action with the gauze helps to soothe irritation on gums when teeth erupt. It also makes the baby accustomed to brushing.
After the teeth erupt you can start to use a finger brush as they are soft, gentle and sterilisable and gradually progress to baby tooth brushes once the baby is over an year old.
Initially no toothpaste is required. Wet the brush with water and you are good to go. However, if you want to use a toothpaste, use a non-fluoridated one. That means it should not contain any amount of fluoride as babies don't know how to spit. Once, the baby learns how to spit (after 2-3 years of age), a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste can be used for brushing.
You don't need to awkwardly hold the baby over the wash basin while brushing, since no spitting is required. Gently lay the child in your lap and clean the teeth. The baby may initially struggle and may not want his teeth to be brushed, but don't give up. Try to distract, be gentle yet firm. Initially babies struggle with everything. They don't want to be bathed, or to be clothed. Similar is with brushing. Slowly, the baby will get used to it.
Twice daily. Once, in the morning and then in the night just before sleeping.
Hope this help. Wish you best of health!
Healthy Smile Healthy You!
-Dr. Shruti Goel
Veda Dentistry and Cosmetology