Caring for Your Baby’s First Teeth
Instagram’s @themummydentist – Dr Jemma Hook explains all you need to know!
What can I do to care for baby teeth?
Start brushing as soon as the first tooth appears!
Use a baby appropriate toothbrush – it should have a small head, soft bristles, easy grip handle. It can also be a good idea to use a Bickiepegs Finger Toothbrush to get baby used to having a different texture in their mouth.
Use a toothpaste containing no less than 1000ppm fluoride – Fluoride protects the teeth from decay and strengthens tooth enamel. For little ones aged 0-3 only apply a FLAT SMEAR of paste as they cannot spit out and you don’t want them swallowing excess paste. Always keep the tube out of reach of children.
Twice daily – from the beginning. It helps to ingrain good habits for both parents and children. The essential clean is at bedtime as when you sleep the protective saliva in your mouth is reduced. Brushing removes plaque and food particles as well as applying a fluoride toothpaste coating for overnight. Then brush in the mornings too for a clean and fresh smile!
How can I brush my baby’s teeth?
Using a baby toothbrush and flat smear of paste as described above is ideal as you’re aiming to give the teeth a very gentle side-to-side scrub: just enough to remove any food particles and apply a thin coating of toothpaste. Don’t worry too much about ‘technique’ as your baby will probably be trying to chew the brush or clamp their mouth closed around it! Good positions for brushing young babies’ teeth include sitting on your knee leaning into your chest or when they are sat up supported in the bath. You can try having 2 toothbrushes so they have one to hold whilst you attempt to clean with the other. And if your baby doesn’t seem keen initially this is common – but being consistent with attempting to brush twice daily will help build it into their routine.
Should I continue toothbrushing when my baby is teething?
Ideally yes! Brushing will remove plaque & food particles both of which could cause additional inflammation if left on the teeth or gums. Also your baby may instinctively chew the toothbrush as a way of relieving teething pain.
And what about going to the dentist?
The advice from the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry UK is to take your baby for a dental check up before their first birthday. This also coincides with your NHS maternity exemption certificate. The first visit is for the dentist to check on tooth development patterns and offer advice. It will also get your baby used to the environment, if children aren’t brought until they are older they can often have preconceived fears. Don’t think we expect babies to behave perfectly at this visit but it’s good to go along! This initiative is supported by the Bickiepegs team and they provide your baby with this super cute milestone certificate. If your baby is over 1 and hasn’t been seen yet don’t worry just call your family dentist to book them in soon.
Free download from this website
You’ll find lots more great advice on the Bickiepegs blog and on my Instagram too @themummydentist