Keeping those little pearly whites in good condition is a parent’s job until the child is able to correctly manage the task. When that first tooth erupts, the job begins. Even before then, caring for your newborn’s gums is important to keep them healthy.
The saliva in the mouth helps clean harmful bacteria away and even babies have bacteria in their mouth. They have less saliva than adults, so wiping down their gums at least twice a day helps keep their little mouths cleaner. This is important so when the teeth do begin to erupt, the new teeth will not be damaged by plaque.
Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth
Your baby’s dentist may have a recommendation as to when you should begin using a toothbrush on the newly erupted teeth. Some recommend waiting until four teeth in a row have appeared and others may recommend waiting until the child is a toddler. Either way, once the teeth have erupted, it is important to keep them clean using either a toothbrush or wiping them clean with gauze or a washcloth.
If you use a toothbrush, choose one with soft bristles and a small head. Get one with a large handle so you can use it easily. When you first start to brush the teeth, use water. Soaking the toothbrush in warm water for a few minutes will help soften the bristles more.
When you begin to use toothpaste, use just a small amount, about the size of a grain of rice. You can use a slightly larger amount when the child is around three years old.
Manual Toothbrush Options for Children
The type of toothbrush your child will use depends on the child’s age and ability. The types of toothbrushes will change as your child grows. When choosing a toothbrush for your child you will want to look for these things:
- A small head – this will help your child reach all areas of the mouth, including the back teeth, which can be difficult to clean. The back teeth are also where cavities have a tendency to develop first.
- Round, soft bristles – these will ensure that the gums will not get irritated. If brushing is painful, you will have a harder time getting the job accomplished.
- Big handle with good grip – you do not want your child’s toothbrush to slip or drop easily, so a good grip is important; and a big handle will be easier for a small child to use.
- A bright design – will make brushing fun.
Encourage your child to brush twice a day. Brusing before going to bed is important to ensure that harmful bacteria do not have a chance to work through the night doing damage to teeth and gums.
Electronic toothbrushes are available for children also. Ask you dentist about the types of electric toothbrushes that are best for your child. Contact us or make an appointment with Gwinnett Family Dental Care for your child’s dental checkup and more information about how to keep your child’s teeth healthy.
Posted on Behalf of Gwinnett Family Dental Care