February is National Children’s Dental Month and a common question asked by moms and dads is what age should you start brushing a baby’s teeth?
First off, the emergence of baby teeth can seem frightening and exciting all at the same time. Parents start to notice the drooling…and soon baby teeth begin to appear. Teething can be painful for kids and many parents end up running to the store, buying multiple brands of teething tablets, with the main focus on helping their kids just feel better. When those teeth finally start to pop through is a good reminder to start healthy teeth brushing habits. parents can write off baby teeth. They are small and aren’t permanent, but they are so important. Baby teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth and without care children can have trouble chewing and speaking clearly.
Parents should start a regular brushing routine before their child has teeth, to include cleaning your baby’s mouth at least once a day with a clean gauze pad or soft cloth. This is not only great for your baby’s hygiene, but it helps develop a habit moving forward with your child’s dental care.
Once baby teeth come through, you can start using a toothbrush. There are tons of kid-friendly toothbrushes out there. Just make sure it’s a soft brush with a small head and large handle.
The key to brushing baby teeth is using fluoride toothpaste (very small amounts, the size of a grain of rice), and doing this until he or she is old enough to hold the brush by himself or herself. Always supervise until your child can rinse and spit without assistance. That usually happens around age six.
Cameron Corbet is the Marketing & Communications Manager at Northwest Health Services and works with medical, dental and behavioral health providers to provide blogs & articles for Northwest Health.