Caring for your babys teeth is important for many reasons. First of all it will protect your baby from developing serious dental problems. Secondly it will help your baby to establish a healthy dental hygiene routine that they will be able to carry with them throughout their life. Because of these two important reason to care for your babys teeth you should learn what dental care babys need and when.
When to Start
Dental care should begin when the baby starts teething. Your initial dental care routine will probably focus on gum care. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the babys gums. This will help to remove plaque and bacteria from the gums, providing a cleaner environment for the new teeth to sprout. Once teeth break through the skin you can switch from a cloth to a baby toothbrush. You do not want to use toothpaste at this early stage, as most toothpaste contains alcohol.
Lead By Example
You should expect to help your baby brush their teeth until they are at least three years old. During this time you will want to both show the baby how to brush their teeth properly by letting them watch you as your brush your teeth, as well as explain how to brush teeth while you are brushing their teeth. You may also want to supplement these teaching exercises with a video or DVD of children brushing their teeth. You should be able to get a video like this free from your dentist or from a toothpaste company. If you can’t find one of these videos then make your own using a video camera and family members that the baby is familiar with.
If your baby is fighting you when you try to use a toothbrush then you may want to start by using a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger. Dip the gauze in some warm water and then gently rub the gums and the teeth to remove plaque. Gradually introduce a baby toothbrush into the routine. Start by just having the toothbrush present when it is time for tooth care. Then try one brush with the toothbrush, one brush with the gauze. This rotation during a normal tooth care session will help alleviate the babys toothbrush anxiety. Gradually increase how much the toothbrush is used until the baby is comfortable with only using the toothbrush.
Select a Fun Toothbrush
Another way to encourage your baby to brush their teeth is to select a toothbrush that has a design that appeals to your baby. If they like a certain cartoon character or color then select baby or toddler toothbrushes that feature these things. This strategy is very effective, and it will help to keep your babys or toddlers interest while you are brushing their teeth. You may also want to get a selection of toothbrushes and allow your toddler to select the one that they want to use. This will make them feel like they have some control over their hygiene routine and it should help to encourage them to brush their teeth.