When and How Long?
When the first tooth appears, it is time to start brushing. You can use two types of brushes. One option is a long-handled toothbrush, which will allow you and your child to hold the handle together as you brush his or her teeth. The other brush fits on your finger. No matter which type of brush you choose, always make sure it has soft bristles.
When you first start brushing your child’s teeth, you don’t need to use toothpaste. Just dip the brush in water before brushing. If your child doesn’t like it, you can go back to using a damp cloth. When your child is really teething, you may want to buy a toothbrush with a teether to get him or her used to the toothbrush.
Once your child has a few teeth, it is time to start using toothpaste. You should start with a toothpaste that does not contain fluoride, unless advised otherwise by your dentist. Too much fluoride can be dangerous for young children. You should start with only a minimal amount of toothpaste and teach your child to spit the toothpaste out so that they get into the habit before they start using fluoride toothpaste.
To avoid cavities, you should avoid giving your child sweetened liquids like soda. Even though some drinks do not have as much sugar as soda, even fruit juice, milk, and formula contain some sugar, which can cause decay. It is also important that you don’t put your children to bed with a bottle. The prolonged contact of the sugar on the teeth is just asking for cavities. This problem is so common it has a name: baby-bottle caries.
Your child’s first dentist appointment should be scheduled within six months of the first tooth’s arrival. Since even the youngest children can get decay, it is really important to visit the dentist regularly. During these early visits, we look for any problems and help you get into the habit of practicing good dental care. It is important that you stay positive so that your child enjoys coming to visit us.