Teething can be a tricky time. Our little ones can’t tell us how they feel or what they need and it’s hard to see them in discomfort. But as soon as those first pearly whites start to come through, it’s important to keep their new teeth clean and healthy.
Introducing a healthy dental care routine for your little one will help protect their new teeth and instil healthy habits they will grow up with and take into adulthood.
So what do you need to do at the first sign of those new little toothypegs? We asked the experts at Brush Baby for their top tips. The award-winning Brush Baby team provides products and advice to help improve children’s oral health. Over to the experts…
Brush from the very first tooth!
Even one new baby tooth can get covered with plaque, so introduce tooth brushing twice a day as soon as the first tooth makes an appearance. You should aim to brush your little’s one’s teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. The key with toothbrushing is to make it fun and to show your little one that you (and any other members of your household) clean your teeth too. And don’t forget to keep toothless gums clean too. A clean muslin cloth dipped into cooled, boiled water is all you need to wipe across the gums and inner oral cavity, or use a handy Brush Baby disposable DentalWipe.
Choose the right toothbrush
It’s so important to choose the right brush for little gums. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small brush-head.
There are lots of different toothbrushes on the market. The important thing to remember is that toddler toothbrushes need to have soft bristles that are gentle on little gums.
The Brush Baby FirstBrush has a small head and a long handle, to help you gently clean inside a little mouth.
If your baby has quite a few teeth already then the FlossBrush is ideal. This brush has bi-level bristles, and so the short ones clean the surface of the tooth and the longer ones reach in between the teeth to clean away any food debris or plaque build-up.
You could also opt for an electric toothbrush – this has a few advantages over a manual and can sometimes persuade an unwilling baby that tooth brushing can be fun! The BabySonic has a small brush head for babies and a follow-on head for when they are older. It has a two minute timer, so you know exactly how long to brush for, along with a light so that you can check you’re getting to all your toddler’s teeth.
Choose a toothpaste with a gentle flavour and the correct level of fluoride for their age. Many young children cannot tolerate strong flavours, including mint. Only use a SMEAR of toothpaste if under 3 years of age and a pea-sized amount if over 3 years of age.
Choosing the right toothpaste for your child’s baby teeth is mainly about choosing the right amount of fluoride in the toothpaste, but it’s also about experimenting with different flavours. Little taste buds can often find minty flavours quite strong.
Fluoride is found naturally in food and water and the amount of fluoride differs depending on where you live. It helps to prevent tooth decay by hardening the enamel on the tooth’s surface. However, eating or drinking too much fluoride can cause permanent stains on the developing adult teeth (fluorosis), so it’s important to encourage your little one to spit out their toothpaste after brushing, instead of swallowing. Choose a toothpaste with no more than 1000 parts per million Fluoride until your little one turns 3 years old.
When do you need to replace your toddler’s toothbrush?
It’s so easy to forget to replace your family’s toothbrushes, but it’s important to remember that toothbrushes can spread infection, so here are Brush Baby’s golden rules for keeping those brushes at their best.
– Replace your toddler’s toothbrush after they are ill with a cold, flu, a tummy bug or after any mouth infections (and yours if you are ill too!).
– Don’t forget to keep an eye on your family’s toothbrushes and replace them when bristles start to fray, or least every 2 – 3 months
– Try to keep everyone’s toothbrushes in a clean, dry, airy place so that they can dry out between uses. Ideally the toothbrush heads shouldn’t touch each other.
Electric toothbrushes can be a great option for a stubborn toddler as they can introduce some fun into the toothbrushing routine. Brush-Baby electric brushes have lights and a 2 minute timer, so you know exactly how long you have to brush for. Don’t forget to replace toothbrush heads when bristles start to fray, or least every 2 – 3 months.
Why do I need to help my toddler brush their teeth?
Establishing good brushing habits as part of your little one’s daily routine will ensure they have the best chance of continuing the habit as they get older, as well as keeping that smile healthy!
While little ones love to do things for themselves, they don’t actually have the co-ordination to brush their own teeth well enough until they are about around 6 years old.
Dentists recommend that you should brush your child’s teeth until they are at least 4 years old and then supervise brushing and toothpaste until they are 6 to 8 years old.
Set a good example. Your child will learn about good oral hygiene just by watching you and the other members of your family brushing and flossing your own teeth.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone on this one! Lots of toddlers want to go it alone and be independent. A few things to try:
– Have two toothbrushes handy so you can give your toddler a choice. They will love the feeling of being in charge!
– Let your little one brush their favourite toy’s ‘teeth’ first or let them ‘help’ you to brush your teeth. (Just be careful not to share toothbrushes with them).
– Try a reward chart and shower praise on them for doing a great job. The team at Claudi & Fin LOVE this magnetic tooth brushing reward chart from Tots Up. With a 2-minute suction timer, days of the week and 14 ‘teeth’, to help your little ones learn better oral heath routines, it’s a great addition to any tooth brushing routine!
ENTER TO WIN
We’re delighted to be linking arms with Brush Baby and Tots Up. Brush Baby are giving away a gorgeous teal BabySonic electric toothbrush and a full-size Applemint Toothpaste. With its small soft bristles it’s perfect to keep your little one’s teeth & gums clean. PLUS, our lucky winner will receive the amazing magnetic tooth brushing chart from Tots Up. With a 2-minute suction timer, days of the week and 14 ‘teeth’ it’s the perfect chart to help your little ones learn better oral health routines. And to keep the snacks a little healthier and 100% natural, we’re throwing in 10 boxes of our all-natural froyo lollies – because we all need a treat now and then, don’t we?! ?
Head over to Instagram to enter. Competition closed midnight on 21st April. T & Cs apply.