From their first gummy smile as a baby to their senior portraits as an emerging adult, seeing your child’s smile lights up your world in a way you never knew was possible. To ensure that their teeth and gums remain healthy throughout the years, they need to practice proper oral hygiene and visit the dentist twice a year. But when does this process start? And at what age should you begin brushing their teeth? A pediatric dentist is here to share the answer, as well as how to brush them properly and when they should first see the dentist.
When Should I Start Brushing My Baby’s Teeth?
Fortunately, the answer to this question is simple. As soon as your child’s first tooth emerges, you should start brushing. Typically, this happens around six months old. However, it is normal for it to happen as early as four months and as late as 12 months.
How Do I Brush Them Properly?
After their first tooth emerges, it is important to transition from the silicone fingertip brush to a soft-bristle toothbrush designed with their teeth in mind. To ensure their teeth (or tooth) gets the proper cleaning it needs, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you:
- Brush their teeth twice a day with a baby toothbrush that has a suitable grip for your hand.
- Squeeze a grain of rice sized amount of toothpaste onto their brush. (Some parents don’t feel comfortable opting for one with fluoride in it, so make sure to read the label).
- Gently brush the front, back, and side of each tooth to remove food particles.
- If possible, clean their tongue as well.
- Replace the toothbrush regularly. (When the bristles become worn, it is a good sign your child needs a new one).
At What Age Should I Take Them to the Dentist?
To ensure your child’s teeth are healthy, progressing properly, and free from dental issues, it is crucial to start their routine visits to the dentist at a young age. Not only will this protect their smile, but it will also avoid dental phobia and enforce good oral habits early on. Therefore, dentists recommend bringing them in for their initial visit around their first birthday or within six months of their first tooth emerging.
To protect your child from tooth decay, cavities, and other dental damage, make sure to prioritize their oral care from their first tooth to their last molars. That way, you can have peace of mind knowing their teeth and gums are in pristine condition throughout all the transitions their smile goes through!
About the Author
After earning her doctorate at the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Dr. Lily attended the Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn for her Advanced Education in General Dentistry certification. From there, she earned her pediatric certification at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Since then, she has become a member of multiple reputable organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Southwestern Society of Pediatric Dentistry (to name a few!). If you have questions about caring for your baby’s teeth or would like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to visit her website or give her a call at 469-925-0861.