A toddler after brushing his teeth.
Once a child's first tooth comes in it is time for tooth brushing.

How to Brush Toddler Teeth

Proper dental care begins even before your child’s first tooth appears. Healthy teeth are important to the overall health and development of your baby. They help your child eat and speak clearly. Even though baby teeth will fall out eventually, healthy baby teeth actually helps protect the space where permanent teeth will grow in. That is why early dental care is vital to keep teeth healthy for a lifetime and why we are going to talk about how to brush toddler teeth.

Teething varies between babies. Most babies begin teething at about six months of age. Once your baby has teeth, they are at risk of tooth decay. Tooth decay comes from sugary deposits in the mouth that causes cavities and tooth discoloration. These deposits usually come from milk left overnight in the mouth when babies are put to sleep with a bottle.

Practicing good dental care is one of the best ways to prevent these dental problems.

How to Clean Your Toddler’s Teeth

Setting good oral care and dental habits are important as your baby grows. Dental experts recommend that a few days after birth, parents should use a clean soft cloth or a piece of gauze to wipe the gums and mouth of a baby after feedings. This routine helps prepare your baby when you introduce a toothbrush later on.

As soon as your baby’s first tooth comes in, it is time to clean it! Start brushing your baby’s teeth twice a day, after breakfast and before bed. For children younger than three years, you can brush their teeth using small soft toothbrush and a low-fluoride toothpaste. Make sure to use a tiny amount, like a single grain of rice.

For proper brushing, position your baby so you can see his mouth. Cup your baby’s chin in your hands. Lift your baby’s lip to clean his teeth in circular motion. Make sure you spend time in cleaning the front and back of each tooth and the gum line.

Types of Toothpaste to Use for Toddlers

There are different kinds of baby or toddler toothbrushes available in the market. You can get a baby training toothbrush and teether, a finger toothbrush, or an electric toothbrush. Getting a fluoride toothpaste helps prevent cavities and tooth decay.

Using a colorful silicone finger brush with nubs is a smart way to switch from a washcloth to a brush. It also gives comfort to your teething baby as you can gently massage their gums using this. It is less intimidating than an actual toothbrush for beginners.

How to Know Your Toddler is Ready for a Toothbrush

When a baby begins to grab the brush, it shows that they are ready to be introduced to the idea of toothbrush. You can now give them a silicone training toothbrush. These are the ones that have bite-resistant rubber and a protective ring that fits on the handle to prevent you from accidentally pushing it too far back. Make sure to get a food-grade silicone and BPA-free toothbrush.

Do not forget to clean the toothbrush by rinsing the brush with tap water after every use. Then, keep it stored upright in an open container so it can air-dry. You should replace the toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles get worn.

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Teaching Your Toddler to Brush Their Teeth

By the ages three to six years old, you can already teach your child to brush their own teeth. However, you still need to supervise them and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste. Starting this age, it is safe to use pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

Make brushing teeth a part of your child’s daily routine. Encourage them to practice good brushing by letting them pick their own toothbrush and toothpaste. There are many kid-friendly toothbrushes in various colors and cartoon character designs, as well as toothpastes in different flavors to choose from. Make brushing teeth fun and more like a game. Make it exciting by adding a fun and memorable song.

Show your toddler that you are brushing your own teeth. That way, you become a model of good dental hygiene. You can join your toddler while they brushes their own teeth. This will encourage them to brush their teeth a little longer for a more thorough cleaning. Ideally, your toddler should spend at least two minutes brushing their teeth.

Finally, it helps to give your child an incentive once in a while when they get the job done right. You can also ask the dentist to praise your child for brushing their teeth on their own. Young children may not always listen to their parents, but they may want to impress other adults like their dentist.

When to See a Dentist

Your baby should see a dentist for the first time after the first tooth comes, or when they are about one year old. This dental visit at an early age is a “well-baby checkup” for his teeth. It is a good time to discuss daily dental care, fluoride and eating habits. Aside from checking for cavities and other dental problems, the dentist can also show you how to properly clean your child’s teeth. Lastly, the dentist will give you advice on what type of toothbrush and toothpaste you should use for your child according to their age.