- Your Oral Health
- Tips for Parents
- Gum Disease and Your Health
- Reduced Cost Clinics
Should I clean my baby’s teeth?
Definitely. Even before the first tooth appears, you can use a soft, clean wet face cloth to gently wipe inside your baby’s mouth each day. As soon as the first tooth appears, begin using a small, soft bristled toothbrush to clean the tooth twice each day. Use only a small smear of fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush. Baby teeth are not completely hardened when they first come into the mouth and the fluoride in the toothpaste will help them to resist decay.
I find brushing my child’s teeth awkward. Any suggestions?
Try having your child lie down with their head on your lap. If your child is standing, have his/her back to you with their head tilted slightly and resting against your body. Have your child hold a mirror while you brush and floss their teeth so they can see what is being done.
Is it important to brush before bed?
Yes. The bedtime brushing is the most important one of the day. If you don’t get rid of the bacteria and sugar that cause cavities, they have all night to harm the teeth. During the day, saliva helps keep the mouth clean. When you are asleep, there is less saliva produced to clean the mouth, so removing the biofilm (plaque) and food from the teeth before bed is very important.
How to brush your child’s teeth:
- Every day plaque bacteria collect on the inner, outer, and chewing surface of teeth and beneath the gums. Tooth brushing is one of the most effective ways to remove the biofilm.
- The best toothbrush to use is one with soft, round-tipped bristles.
- A child will need a smaller brush than an adult.
- Young children have not yet developed their coordination enough to brush properly. Your child will need your supervision and help with brushing until the age when he or she can write (not print) their own name.
- Use gentle, circular motions when brushing your child’s teeth ensuring that you cover all the teeth surfaces. Make sure that you point the bristles of the toothbrush right where the tooth and the gum meet to clean the gumline as well.
- It is best to replace their toothbrush after 3-4 months or when the bristles become bent or frayed.
- Start flossing your child’s teeth when the teeth touch each other and you can no longer brush in between them.