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Brushing Baby Teeth

When and How to Brush Baby’s Teeth

The right time to start brushing your baby’s teeth is right as soon as the first teeth erupt! And whenever two teeth touch each other, it is time to start flossing! That is because bacteria in the mouth will start to stick to the teeth. Certain bacteria will make acids and will cause tooth decay. Other bacteria will make irritating chemicals that cause gum disease.

It’s a good idea to introduce your baby to the sights, sounds and feelings of toothbrushing. Special toothbrushes are available for babies where the portion with the brush is short so as to avoid over-insertion and the handle is like a teething ring. This can be given to babies to get them familiar with the sight, sound and feeling of a toothbrush.

Even with familiarity, there are days when your baby just doesn’t want to have his or her teeth brushed. Especially on such days, it is very important that you, the parent, make the difficult but correct decision to brush your baby’s teeth even if your baby starts to cry. We always want you to brush gently but thoroughly!

The best position to brush your baby’s teeth is to sit on the ground with your feet about 3 feet apart. Gently place your baby so that his or her head is right between your legs. If your baby squirms and wiggles then gently place one thigh over each shoulder to gently but securely hold your baby in place. Usually a baby or toddler will cry the first few times but if this is done consistently, your baby or toddler will learn to look forward to tooth brushing as a snuggly time with you!

A parent should look forward to brushing his or her child’s teeth like this every night until the child is about 7 or 8 years old. Of course we want children to learn how to brush their own teeth, but they are literally unable to brush their own teeth well until they are fluent in writing in cursive. The motions required for good tooth brushing demand great hand dexterity such as making small circles and moving the brush into all angles and crevices.