As soon as the first tooth appears, introduce gentle toothbrushing. Even if your baby has one tooth, starting early will help your baby get used to having their teeth cleaned. Brushing your baby’s teeth is an important part of their daily routine so they continue the healthy habit as they get older.
Try to get into the habit of brushing your baby’s teeth twice a day. Brushing in the morning and before going to bed at night can help protect your baby’s teeth against dental cavities.
Start brushing using a small soft tooth brush and tap water only, using gentle circular motions to clean your babies teeth.
Remember toothpaste is not recommended for children under 2 years. When choosing at toothpaste, look for one specific to your toddlers’ age and that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay.
Top Tip: If your baby dislikes having their teeth brushed and squirms away, try giving them their own toothbrush to hold. Your baby will make your baby feel independent and in control.
Other ways to protect your baby’s teeth
- Try to avoid sugary snacks and drinks. Pure fruit juice should be well diluted (1 part juice to 4-5 parts water). Fizzy drinks cause tooth decay.
- Don’t let your baby go to sleep with a bottle in their mouth.
- When starting off weaning your baby, begin with a savoury food first e.g. vegetables as opposed to fruit; this will reduce the chances of your baby developing a sweet tooth later in life.
- Change your baby’s toothbrush every 3 months.
- Don’t dip your baby’s soother in sugar, honey or anything sweet.
- From around six months, give your baby drinks from a beaker. Once he’s a year old, try to discourage him from using a bottle, and only give him milk or water to drink at night.