April 17, 2012

Brushing Your Baby's Teeth

It is as important to care for your baby's first teeth as it is to care for his permanent teeth when he's older. Yes - his baby teeth will fall out, but in the meantime they serve some important functions.

Baby teeth are responsible for "reserving" spaces for the permanent teeth to grow into. When baby teeth are lost, it can cause the permanent teeth to shift - and this can cause orthodontic problems as your child grows. Your baby needs his baby teeth in order to learn to speak correctly and clearly. Your baby's milk teeth are necessary for biting and chewing. If your child loses too many baby teeth, it can affect his confidence once he reaches pre-school. Sadly, children can be very unkind when it comes to pointing out differences in others.

As soon as baby's first tooth erupts, it's time to buy a good toothbrush. The best type to use at first is a long handled brush with a small head. This design makes it easy to reach all areas of your baby's mouth.

Your baby's toothbrush should have rounded, soft filaments. You should replace it every 10-12 weeks, or sooner if the filaments become splayed.

Another option is to use a specially designed infant toothbrush that fits over your finger. Some babies seem to prefer this type... but beware! If your baby is a biter, a toothbrush of this type offers your vulnerable finger very little protection!

As your baby grows and wants to hold the brush himself, then it's a good idea to buy him one with a chunky handle. This will be easier for him to hold - but, of course, you will still need to do the majority of the brushing yourself!

It isn't absolutely essential to use toothpaste to clean your baby's teeth - the brushing action itself is actually the most important part of keeping them clean. If you prefer to use toothpaste, then you should choose one that is designed specifically for infants, because they contain very little - if any - fluoride. In fact, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines suggest that babies under the age of 2 receive NO fluoride at all.

Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel of teeth. However, too much of it can cause fluorosis, which is a condition where white spots can appear on the permanent teeth. If you use an adult toothpaste to brush your baby's teeth, which contains the amount of fluoride recommended for adults, you run the risk of him developing fluorosis. This is because babies tend to swallow rather a lot of toothpaste during brushing and are thereby swallowing excess fluoride.

If your baby won't open his mouth when it's time to brush his teeth, then try putting a brush in your mouth. Your baby loves to mimic you. You can also make your baby laugh

Sit your baby in the most comfortable position for both of you - try standing or sitting behind  your baby as he looks up. This is an excellent position to adopt, because it makes it very easy to reach all parts of his mouth. Be gentle - it isn't necessary to brush firmly at this stage and it may just put your baby off having his teeth brushed altogether!

For information about other dental topics visit DrTav.com


  1. It is very essential to teach your children to maintain proper oral health by regularly brushing their teeth.

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  2. Excellent ideas shared. Kids must be made aware about keeping teeth clean and proper brushing.
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