Monday, July 8, 2013

Yes, You Should Brush Baby Teeth

Hooray for baby's first teeth! Just like adults, infants should have their mouths cleaned daily. I know, one more thing you have to fit in. But trust me, it's worth it. Start the brushing routine with an infant, and it may save you a fight when they become a two-year-old

Start Early
Before teeth erupt, a warm, wet washcloth can be used to gently wipe in and around the gums and tongue. Food debris will accumulate and should be wiped out. Also, this will get baby ready for the inevitable routine that comes when teeth erupt.

First Teeth
Continue to wipe out the mouth like above, but gently wipe over the new teeth, as well. With only a few teeth (4 or less) you can still use the washcloth. As more teeth erupt, switch to a wet, soft-bristled brush.  No toothpaste.

Timing and control are the your challenges here. While a cleaning before bedtime is recommended, it's not the easiest to accomplish when you and baby are tired. Try to work brushing into bath time. And if you have nighttime feedings, give the teeth a quick morning swipe with the brush.

Control resistance with good positioning and routine. Lay your child back on a flat surface he/she can't roll off. Make brushing into a game with songs. Do what you can to make the experience fun, then repeat it every day. Routine brushing helps your child understand and accept THE BRUSH. If you're lucky they eventually may want to help.

Information from:

Casamassimo et al. Pediatric Dentistry: Infancy Through Adolescence, 5th Edition., 2013.


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