As soon as your baby’s teeth start to come through, you must start caring for them as well as you would your own teeth. Learn how to make sure you prevent tooth decay and keep your baby’s teeth pearly white.
Care and attention
Once the first tooth has started to poke through the gum, use a cloth wrapped round your forefinger and wipe round very gently inside your baby’s mouth, massaging the gums to clean them. Do this twice a day, using a tiny smear of baby fluoride toothpaste. Don’t consider tooth care as optional just because these are milk teeth!
As more teeth appear, move on to a baby toothbrush, though make
this a manual, rather than an electric brush.
If you use a dummy, never dip it into anything sweet, including fruit juice. This can cause tooth decay. In fact, as fruit juices are very high in sugar, don’t introduce juices at all at this age.
Tooth brushing top tip
Make tooth brushing time fun! Have a special song you sing, make a game out of it, or brush your own teeth at the same time. Babies love to mimic and this makes a chore more fun!
Brush the teeth in little circles and encourage your child to spit out the excess toothpaste.
How long should I brush my baby’s teeth for?
You’re aiming for two minutes but in the early stages, your baby may not tolerate this long. Remember that you are getting your baby used to brushing, so start with a shorter time and increase until you reach the two-minute mark. Make sure one of your brushing times is at bedtime, the other earlier in the day at a time that suits you both.
Do I use toothpaste?
There is lots of conflicting advice about using toothpaste, with some dentists recommending a pea-sized blob of ordinary, adult toothpaste, some saying you should only use a children’s formula and others saying an organic paste or none is best. Flouride is another confusing issue – should you use a flouride toothpaste if the water in your area is fluoridated?
It’s best to discuss this with your dentist while your baby is very young to get the right advice.
The biggest threat to those pearly white baby teeth is sugar, so try to restrict this in your baby’s diet. The worst thing is to have something that exposes your child’s teeth to sugar for long periods – things like lollipops and sugary drinks. If you do give your baby a sugary drink like fruit juice, rinse the mouth with water afterwards and never offer it to them in a bottle or spout as this concentrates the sugars straight onto the teeth.
Make trips to the dentist a regular family outing
Check-ups and treatment for children are free in the NHS. Make sure you register your baby with a local dentist and book regular checks. You can find a local dentist here.
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