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Posted on 5/1/2024 by Naveen Kwatra, DDS

How to Start Brushing Baby's First Tooth - A Guide for New Parents

Dentist and child learn how to brush teethCongratulations on the arrival of your little one! As new parents, you're embarking on a journey filled with joy, wonder, and of course, a lot of questions. One of those questions might be: "When should I start brushing my baby's teeth?" The answer is simple: as soon as their first tooth erupts!

I know, it might seem strange to be brushing a tiny tooth that just emerged from your baby's gums. But establishing good oral hygiene habits early on is crucial for preventing cavities and setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

In this blog post, I'll guide you through the basics of brushing your baby's first tooth, including the best techniques, tools, and tips to make the experience positive for both you and your little one.

The Importance of Early Oral Care

Many parents mistakenly believe that brushing isn't necessary until their child has a full set of teeth. However, even a single tooth is susceptible to cavities, which can cause pain, discomfort, and even affect your child's overall health.

Furthermore, establishing a consistent brushing routine early on helps your child develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Brushing becomes a familiar and comforting ritual, making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene as they grow older.

Techniques and Tools for Brushing Baby's First Tooth

Now, let's talk about the practical aspects of brushing your baby's first tooth. Here are some key points to remember:

Use a soft-bristled infant toothbrush. Look for a toothbrush specifically designed for babies, with a small head and soft bristles that won't irritate their delicate gums.

Apply a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste. Choose a fluoride toothpaste formulated for infants and toddlers. A pea-sized amount is all you need. Some parents prefer to start with just water and gradually introduce toothpaste later.

Gently brush the tooth in circular motions. Be gentle and avoid using too much pressure. Focus on the chewing surface and the gum line.

Brush twice a day. Ideally, brush your baby's teeth after breakfast and before bedtime.

Make it a fun experience! Sing songs, tell stories, or let your baby hold the toothbrush while you guide their hand.

Be patient and consistent. It may take some time for your baby to get used to brushing. Be patient and consistent, and they'll eventually accept it as part of their daily routine.

Tips for Making Brushing Easier

Here are some additional tips to make brushing your baby's first tooth easier:

When to See a Pediatric Dentist

•  Start early. Even before their first tooth erupts, you can wipe your baby's gums with a clean, damp washcloth.
•  Let your baby explore the toothbrush. Allow them to touch and chew on the toothbrush before you start using it.
•  Make it a family affair. Brush your teeth at the same time as your baby to set a good example.
•  Use positive reinforcement. Praise your baby for letting you brush their teeth and offer small rewards for good behavior.

It's important to schedule your baby's first dental visit within six months of their first tooth erupting, but no later than their first birthday. Your pediatric dentist can assess your child's oral health, answer any questions you have, and provide guidance on proper brushing techniques.

By following these tips and establishing good oral hygiene habits early on, you can help your child develop a healthy, confident smile that will last a lifetime. Remember, prevention is key, and starting with their first tooth is the best way to ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles.

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