One should begin cleaning the baby’s teeth as soon as they appear. Starting early makes the child get used to the routine. It is also the best preventive measure against dental issues. Flossing and cleaning, combined with regular visits to the children dentist is the best way to ensure that your baby’s teeth remain intact for the long-term. Pediatric dentistry recommends that cleaning the teeth and gums begin when the first tooth comes out or when you start feeding the child, whichever comes earlier. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Start with a soft cloth
With only one or two teeth, it can be difficult to use a toothbrush. Therefore, you should use a soft cloth to wipe the baby’s teeth and gums. Ensure that the cloth and your fingers are clean so as to avoid getting the baby’s mouth infected. To clean the teeth, simply wrap your finger with the cloth and use your finger as the toothbrush.
Transition to a toothbrush after an year or when the child has at least four teeth in a row
When the child gets more teeth, you can start using a soft toothbrush. Your dentist will be able to advise you on when to make the transition. You may be advised to wait until the child is two or three years. Below are some tips to help you when you when brushing and flossing your child:
- Buy a toothbrush that is specifically designed for small children. It should be small and soft. The toothbrush should be used for a maximum of four month. You can replace it earlier if it begins to wear and tear.
- Since the baby teeth are tiny and the gums fragile, you can make the toothbrush softer by soaking it in lukewarm water a few minutes before brushing your child’s teeth. Soaking in warm water makes the brush softer.
- When the first teeth appear, use fluoride toothpaste that is equal to the size of a grain of rice. When the child turns 3, you can use a peanut sized amount.
- The frequency of brushing should be at least twice a day. Brush the baby’s teeth early in the morning and at night before you put them to bed.
- Brushing should take at least two minutes. Ensure that all the surfaces are cleaned and pay close attention to the molars since this is where the cavities develop first.
- Your baby’s toothbrush should never be shared. If you have more than one child, buy a separate toothbrush for each child.
You should start flossing your baby’s teeth as soon as the two teeth emerge. Floss sticks maybe easier to use compared to the regular string floss.
Teaching the children to brush and floss on their own
A child may develop an interest for brushing their own teeth as early as when they’re two years old. However, they lack coordination and thus may not clean them efficiently. When they are under five, you can help them brush and then leave them to do it on their own when they are around six.