What’s the best way to brush my baby’s teeth after they start coming in?
As your child’s teeth start to appear (generally around 6 months), look for a baby toothbrush with a small head and grip suitable for your hand. (If your child is healthy and still hasn’t sprouted his first tooth by the end of his first year, don’t worry – some children don’t start getting teeth until 15 to 18 months.)
Use a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste. A dot the size of a grain of rice (or a thin smear) is all you need. To avoid giving your child too much fluoride, be sure to follow this recommendation.
Twice a day, gently brush on the inside and outside of each of your baby’s teeth, as well as his tongue (if he’ll let you), to dislodge bacteria that can cause bad breath. No need to rinse, because you’re using such a small amount of toothpaste.
Replace the toothbrush as soon as the bristles start to look worn or splayed.
For now your baby’s teeth are probably far enough apart that you don’t have to worry about flossing. In fact, there’s no evidence that flossing baby teeth makes a difference. To be on the safe side, though, many dentists recommend starting to floss when tooth surfaces touch so that you can’t clean them with a toothbrush.
I have been a parent who has taken care of my babies’ teeth and gums since they were very little, under six months, but I also know personally of babies who have not had similar oral care. I can say there is a difference as their teeth grow in, not so much as that there are more cavities, but moreso that the children who grew up with a daily oral hygiene routine from infancy continued it into childhood when brushing becomes more the responsibility of the child to some degree.
Please share this information with your Au Pair and be aware of your child’s oral hygiene in general.
For more information about Go Au Pair and a cultural child care experience for your family, visit www.goaupair.com or contact LAR Joan Lowell in the Providence, RI and surrounding areas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401.309.1925.