Many parents come to the office asking, "when do I start brushing my child's teeth?" The answer is - the sooner the better! Starting at birth, you want to clean your child's gums (even before they have teeth) with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. This helps keep your child's mouth clean and allows you to become comfortable with oral health for your child!
What type of toothbrush can you use? It is best to choose a soft,age-appropriate sized toothbrush. When you purchase a toothbrush, most will note at the top the softness of the toothbrush and will also give you an age range for the toothbrush size. The great part is, toothbrushes come in many fun designs and colors. You can have your child choose a color they like - it'll make brushing that much more fun!
As soon as teeth start to erupt, you can use toothpaste with your toothbrush! For children under 3 years old, you should use a tiny smear of fluoridated-toothpaste. The amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush should be about the size of a grain of rice. Once children are 3-6 years old, the amount should be increased to a pea-sized dollop. The toothpaste amount is really important because young children do not have the ability to spit out. By using the correct amount of toothpaste, your child will not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing. As always, we recommend parents to help their child brush - at least until age 7 years old! A great way to remember this is if your child can tie their shoelaces, then they can brush their teeth on their own! They have developed their hand skills at this time, but you should always check to make sure they brushed all of the hard to reach spots.
Remember to brush 2x/day! Create a routine - brush, book, bed! Brush your child's teeth, read a book together, and have them go to bed! By having a set routine every night, your child will learn that this is something they need to do every day! We will be talking later on on tips of how to make brushing fun!