When it comes to your child’s oral hygiene routine, it’s best if you start as early as possible. The routine will need to adapt and change during the course of their childhood and it’s good to have a basic understanding of how to take care of your child’s teeth.

Before The Teeth Begin To Erupt

Even before your baby starts teething, their teeth are beginning to form underneath the gums. You should begin your child’s oral hygiene routine before the first tooth erupts. There is no need for toothbrushes or toothpaste at this stage, just take a soft, damp muslin cloth and wrap it around your index finger. From there, gently rub the top and side of the gums in a circular motion. Remember that your baby’s gums are very sensitive so make sure that your don’t apply too much pressure. This will not only lift and clean away any bacteria, but by including it into your child’s bathing routine, they will become accustomed to having their mouth cleaned. When it does come to using a toothbrush they would be more familiar with the sensation, making the transition easier for both parent and baby.

The First Tooth And Teething

The moment the first tooth appears is the moment when you incorporate toothpaste into your baby’s oral hygiene routine. There are two ways to clean your baby’s first few teeth: Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) onto the muslin cloth and clean the teeth with your index finger. The other option is to purchase a toothbrush and begin to integrate brushing into your baby’s routine.

If you choose to move onto tooth brushing, it is important that you select the right toothbrush for your baby. Most brands indicate the age range that they are designed for on the front of the packaging to ensure you select the right toothbrush for each stage of your child’s life. You want one with a small head and soft bristles. It is best if the toothbrush has a long handle to make it easier for you to navigate around the mouth. Gently brush the teeth from front to back, ensuring that you reach the gaps in between each tooth. This should be done twice a day; mornings and before bed.

Children Under The Age Of Six

There will reach a point where your child will want to grab hold of the toothbrush. This is when you should opt for a toothbrush with a smaller, thicker handle. Continue using only a small amount of toothpaste on their brush up until the age of two. Afterwards, begin to increase the about of toothpaste you put onto their brush (about a pea-sized amount). From the age of two, they should learn to spit and rinse properly.

It is best that parents supervise their children during the first few years. Hold onto the toothbrush with your baby and gently guide the brush around the mouth, making sure they reach the back teeth. Brush in front of a mirror so that they can see what they are doing. Your children will learn the motions and the correct way to brush their teeth so when it comes to brushing on their own, it will be like second-nature to them.

You should begin flossing their teeth when the gaps begin to close and the teeth begin to touch. Your child should be used to brushing twice daily (morning and evening) by the time they reach the age of six.