Some will a little earlier, some will a little later, but most children have gotten their first tooth by the time they approach their first birthday. We’ve written a lot in the past about diet, bottles and teething but we haven’t yet written about one very important topic we often are asked by new parents: when to begin cleaning an infant’s teeth.
Care should actually begin early, even before teeth come in! After each feeding, infant’s bare gums should be wiped with a clean soft washcloth. As soon as the first tooth is in, it’s time to begin using a brush! Selecting a small brush with soft nylon bristles is your best bet. A great example is FridaBaby’s Smile Frida toothbrush, which has inward facing bristles on three sides to clean the three tooth surfaces all at once. You’ll often find that a small child just likes to chew the brush, especially after you’ve added your “rice grain” amount of fluoridated toothpaste (for children one-year of age and up). The focus at this age is to mechanically clean the plaque off the teeth, so just keep the brush going as long as you can!
When to start using floss? While some children’s teeth are spaced, others are tightly aligned. Floss helps clean the surfaces between the teeth once they directly touch the adjacent tooth. If your child’s teeth touch each other, it’s likely that you’re ready to begin flossing. If you want confirmation or are unsure, we’ll go over it with you at your next dental cleaning.
We look forward to helping you and your children learn how to best take care of their teeth. We look forward to seeing your smiling faces at your next appointment!