Your little one’s teeth will most likely start to appear when they’re between six and ten months old, however it’s not at all unusual for them to arrive earlier or later.
Though these baby teeth will eventually fall out, it’s important to care for your child’s teeth and gums from an early age.
Baby teeth play an integral role in how your child speaks, bites and chews, and help guide permanent “adult” teeth into place.
Good oral health starts with a regular brushing routine, and making teeth brushing fun from infancy not only demonstrates to your child the importance of dental care, but also encourages the maintenance of their permanent teeth and gums for years to come.
How to best clean your child’s teeth
It’s not uncommon for us to see cavities in very young children, however the good news is, these are easy to prevent with a regular care routine. Just like adults, your child’s teeth require brushing twice per day to remove plaque.
To brush the teeth of your very little ones, support your child in a way that allows you to easily access their mouth (the child sitting in your lap whilst you’re seated is one of the most common ways). Using a child’s-size toothbrush and a small pea of children’s toothpaste, gently lift their lips up move the brush across their teeth and gumline.
Working in small, circular motions, start by brushing the outer surface of each tooth on the lower and upper jaw, then work the toothbrush along the inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth. Spit, and they’re all done.
- When looking for a new toothbrush for your child, look for soft, rounded bristles.
- To prevent cross-contamination of germs, make sure your child has their own toothbrush.
- We generally don’t recommend flossing until your child is over two and a half years old.
- Maintain the health and avoid tooth decay by ensuring no bottle is given to your child while asleep, and avoiding eating and drinking after their teeth have been brushed.
Making Brushing Fun
When your child is old enough to start brushing their own teeth, there’s many ways you can make the routine fun. Here’s some of our favourites:
- Children love using toothbrushes adorned with their favourite tv or movie character, so let them be involved in selecting their first one.
- Two minutes of brushing can seem like a log time for a child, however there’s now an extensive range of brushing apps available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play that can help with this. These apps make brushing a game, encouraging your child to brush for longer, offering rewards for maintaining a routine.
- We’ve seen many parents have success with brushing songs and rewards charts to encourage regular teeth cleaning.
- Remember, you’re their biggest role model so let your child watch you enjoying brushing too!
Their First Dental Visit
Your child will be ready to visit the dentist when they’re about 12 months old. As with adults, regular check-ups can help detect problems early, and any early stages of tooth decay can be treated.