Everything You Need to Know About Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth
Everything You Need to Know About Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth
This content has been reviewed and approved for quality and accuracy by James O'Loan (GPhC: 2084549)
If you’re a new parent then you’ve got a billion and one things to worry about.
Changing nappies, making sure they’re fed, keeping to a routine, trying to get them to sleep, trying to get some sleep yourself, the list is endless!
So, when your baby starts teething it can feel like yet another thing you have to find time for and you don’t even know where to start!
This is why we’ve written this guide about how to care for your baby’s and toddler’s teeth, so you can help them to keep those pearly whites clean and bright until they’re old enough to brush for themselves.
Keeping your baby’s teeth clean is really important, from the second that first tooth pops through it can fall victim to plaque and bacteria, so you need to keep those cute little baby teeth clean!
If you brush their teeth twice a day, you’ll be helping to protect them from tooth decay and keep those adorable smiles shining brightly.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to keep your baby’s teeth clean and sparkly from the moment they appear.
You should start to brush your baby’s teeth as soon as they get their first tooth. If your baby has a tooth, then it’s going to need cleaning to keep it healthy so don’t wait!
Brushing won’t take long at first (I mean, how long can it take to brush one tiny tooth?) but it will help you and your little one to form good toothbrushing habits that will last a lifetime.
When babies start to get their first teeth it’s called teething and it normally begins when your little one is around 6 months old.
However, babies can start teething earlier or later than this, so as soon as those little teeth are ready, they’ll start pushing through into the mouth.
The teething process usually lasts until your child is around 2 and a half years old, so be prepared to clean more and more teeth as they pop up!
You brush your baby’s teeth exactly as you would your own, with their own toothbrush and toothpaste.
Put a tiny amount of baby appropriate toothpaste onto their toothbrush and gently brush all around their teeth and gums.
You’re going to want to brush your baby’s teeth twice a day, just as you would yourself (Hopefully! If you’re not brushing twice a day then start now!).
If you’re finding it a little difficult to brush their teeth properly, the NHS recommends that you pop your little one on your knee with the back of their head resting against your chest.
Sit in front of a mirror, this way both you and your baby can see what you’re doing, they’ll feel more comfortable if they can see what’s going on.
Baby toothbrushes are smaller toothbrushes that have softer bristles, so they’re kind to your little one’s new teeth while still brushing away harmful plaque and bacteria.
A lot of baby toothbrushes have easy-grip handles, so your baby can easily grab the handle as they start to learn to brush for themselves.
Although it must be said that that handle can be pretty useful when you’re trying to keep hold of a toothbrush and a wriggling baby at the same time!
Just take a look at the toothbrush’s packaging for an age rating, which will tell you if it’s age appropriate for your baby.
You should get your baby a toothpaste that’s appropriate for their age, rather than using your own toothpaste to clean their teeth.
Baby toothpastes contain less fluoride than adult toothpastes, with the NHS recommending that you use a toothpaste with up to 1,000ppm of fluoride for babies whereas that adult toothpastes should contain 1,350 – 1,500ppm of fluoride.
Using a baby toothpaste will help you to keep your child’s sensitive first teeth safe from tooth decay without using more fluoride than they need.
You’ve managed brushing your baby’s teeth but now it’s time for your little one to start learning how to brush for themselves!
As any parent knows, this is easier said than done, so let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to make this whole process a bit easier.
When choosing your toddler’s toothbrush, you should look at the age rating on the packaging of the brush, just as you would when choosing a baby’s toothbrush.
Toddler toothbrushes are normally suitable for children between the ages of 3 – 6 and will have soft bristles that will keep your child from accidentally damaging their teeth and gums as they learn to brush.
Lots of these toothbrushes have bright colours and fun characters printed on them, so you can choose a brush that will make your child excited to brush their teeth twice a day.
You can even pick up rechargeable or battery powered electric toothbrushes that are suitable for children aged 3 and up!
Once your child turns three it’s time to pick out a new toothpaste to match their new toothbrush.
Toddler toothpastes should contain at least 1,000ppm of fluoride and you should start to use a pea sized amount of toothpaste when it’s time to brush their teeth.
These toothpastes are perfect for little ones, and some of them have fun flavours like strawberry and bubble gum that kids will love to use every day.
Now you’ve picked out the right toothbrush and toothpaste you’re going to have to deal with the real tricky part – getting your toddler to want to brush their teeth!
They should be brushing their teeth for the same amount of time as adults do (2 minutes, twice a day), but teaching them how to brush for themselves can be a real pain in the… gums.
Here are a couple of simple ideas that you can use to make brushing feel more like fun and less like a chore.
- Remember what I said about the cute characters and fun colours on toddler toothbrushes? Start by letting your child pick out the one they love the most, this will help to get them involved in brushing their teeth from the very start.
- Set a routine, make sure that your child brushes their teeth at the same time every day so they know that as soon as they’ve had their breakfast it’s time to get brushing.
- Make a big deal out of them brushing properly. Did they take the time to get those teeth clean and shiny? It’s party time! Make sure they know how happy you are that they’ve brushed their teeth and make it the performance of a lifetime! I’m talking cheering, jumping for joy, a bit of dad dancing, the works. The more encouraging you can be the better, so it’s time to put your cheerleading skills to the test!
- Make a rewards chart and let your little one pop a sticker onto the chart when they’ve brushed their teeth for the day. When the chart is full, you can pick out a little prize for all of their hard work… if only I got a reward for brushing my teeth!
- Count down the 2 minutes of brushing together. Set a 2-minute timer and do a little brushing dance, read a story, sing a song, watch a fun video, make funny faces and count down those 120 seconds in the most entertaining way you can.
- Give your toddler a play toothbrush that they can use to brush their favourite toy's teeth as you brush theirs. This way they can practice brushing and you can help to keep their teeth clean.
- Give your child a toy to distract them as they're learning to brush, like some of these adorable Moon and Me Toys!
One of the most popular ways to make brushing teeth more fun for toddlers is making up a toothbrushing song.
That’s right, it’s time to unleash your inner Beyoncé and boogie on down for a good cause – keeping those teeth clean!
You can make up a song of your own or find some fun ones online that you and your child can sing together when it’s time to brush their teeth.
We’ve found one of our favourites to get you started, but why stop there? I think a toothbrushing remix of Ed Sheeran’s greatest hits is long overdue, wouldn’t you agree?
Now you know everything there is to know about keeping those little smiles shining brightly, so go out there and make tooth brushing time as fun as it can be!
For starters, why not check out our range of children’s toothbrushes and toothpaste?
We’ve got everything you need to make teaching your little one to care for their teeth a lot less stressful.