When should you start brushing baby teeth?
Dr. Rupali Wankhede Panpate
Banasawadi, Bengaluru Apr 30, 2019
Oral health of babies is very important and should not be overlooked. One of the most common question that most parents have is when to start brushing the baby’s teeth. Though primary teeth do eventually fall down and give way to permanent teeth, maintaining the health of the primary teeth is equally important.
The first teeth start appearing at around 6-10 months of age (can be even more in some cases). It is important to note that once the teeth have started to emerge, they are prone to decay and cavity formation. Hence, proper care should be taken as soon as the first tooth starts to emerge, and there is no need to wait for all the teeth to emerge for brushing.
Caring for gums:
Though there is no risk of decay before the teeth have appeared, many dentists recommend cleaning the baby’s gums. Cleaning the gums after feeding prevents bacterial growth and promotes good oral health and hygiene. A soft damp cloth or a silicone finger brush can be used to clean the baby’s gums.
When to start brushing:
Most dentists recommend starting brushing as soon as the first tooth emerges. A damp cloth or a finger brush can be used to gently clean the tooth and the front of the tongue. It should be done after feeding the baby and before sleeping. Normal toothbrushes with hard bristles should not be used yet, as they may damage the delicate surface of the gums.
However, many parents wait for a few more teeth to emerge before brushing. In most cases, it does not cause any problem but one must still look out for signs of decay.
Tips for brushing:
The following points should be kept in mind before starting to brush the baby’s teeth:
Use a wet, soft-sided natural fiber toothbrush and wet it with water before brushing.
Do not use toothpaste until the age of 2, unless recommended by your dentist.
Avoid normal toothbrushes with hard bristles which are suitable for adults.
Gently brush all sides of the teeth, do not be harsh.
Carefully massage the surrounding gums with a damp cloth.