Establishing good dental hygiene practices during the early stages of your child’s life is crucial for the long-term health of their teeth, even before the first tooth appears. Initiating these habits now lays the groundwork for your child’s oral well-being in the future.
When should I start?
The ideal time to commence cleaning your baby’s gums is before the eruption of the first tooth. Use a soft washcloth soaked in warm water to gently wipe your infant’s gums daily. This not only helps eliminate bacteria in the mouth but also introduces your child to a consistent brushing routine.
What should I use?
As your child’s teeth start emerging, transition to a baby toothbrush with a large grip for your hand and a small, maneuverable head. Toothpaste is unnecessary until around one year of age, and when introduced, use only a minimal amount, equivalent to a grain of rice. Increase this to a pea-sized amount when your child reaches about two years old. Around six years old, your child may be capable of rinsing and spitting independently, allowing for the introduction of a child-friendly fluoride mouthwash.
How should I do it?
Until approximately age five or six, your child will likely require your assistance with brushing their teeth. Gently brush over all teeth and gums, including areas where teeth have not yet erupted. It can be helpful to explain the process to your toddler, fostering independence in brushing as they grow older.
In conjunction with regular visits to Dr. Sindledecker and Dr. Saltz at our Boca Raton office, instilling proper hygiene practices in your child from an early age establishes a solid foundation for a healthy mouth in the future.