When should you start brushing your baby’s teeth?
It is recommended that you start brushing a baby's teeth as soon as they appear. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends wiping a baby's gums with a clean, damp cloth after feeding, even before teeth appear. This can help to remove bacteria and prevent the buildup of plaque.
Once the first tooth appears, typically around 6 months of age, you should start using a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush your baby's teeth twice a day. You only need to use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice, until your child is able to spit out the toothpaste, typically around age 3.
It is important to make brushing a fun and positive experience for your baby. You can let them hold the toothbrush or sing a song while you brush their teeth. It is also important to supervise your child's brushing until they are able to do it effectively on their own, usually around age 8.
In addition to brushing, it is also important to limit your child's exposure to sugary drinks and foods. Sugary drinks like juice or soda can cause tooth decay, especially if consumed frequently. Instead, encourage your child to drink water or milk and offer healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables.
Regular dental check-ups are also important for your child's oral health. Your child's dentist can monitor their dental development, identify and treat any dental problems early, and provide advice on maintaining good dental hygiene.
In summary, you should start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they appear, typically around 6 months of age. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Encourage healthy habits like drinking water and eating healthy snacks, and schedule regular dental check-ups to ensure your child's oral health is on track.