When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?
When should I take my baby for their first dental check?
According to the Australian Dental Association (ADA), there are a few things you can do to start taking care of your baby’s teeth as soon as they begin to appear.
But first, let’s find out a few important things about your baby’s teething…
When do babies start teething?
Babies will start teething between the age of 4 to 10 months.
However, not all babies will follow the same dental developmental pattern. And that’s ok, no reason to worry.
According to the ADA, correct dental hygiene should start as soon as teeth begin to appear.
Tip: Usually, the first teeth that start to erupt are the central bottom teeth.
When your baby starts teething, it might hurt or itch them. This is a natural process and, although unpleasant, all you can do is try to make your child comfortable during this time.
Here are a few simple ways to soothe your baby’s teething pain:
- Chilled teething rings
- Chilled (not frozen) clean washcloths
Tip: When using dummies to soothe your baby’s teething distress, make sure not to use jam, honey or other sweets as they can easily cause tooth decay.
When can you start brushing your baby’s teeth?
Promoting your baby's dental health starts as soon as they start teething.
You can start by modelling correct dental health practices so your child gets used to them early on.
- Even if your baby has only a few teeth, bacteria can build up and cause tooth decay. You can start brushing their teeth as soon as they start erupting.
- Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, soft cloth twice a day. This will prepare your baby’s sensitive gums for teeth brushing.
Tip: It is recommended you use a soft children’s brush and no toothpaste until the age of 18 months. Don’t forget about flossing!
When to take your baby to their first dental check?
As a general rule, the earlier your child gets a dental check-up, the better.
You can start thinking about scheduling a dentist appointment as soon as your baby’s first teeth become visible (which usually happens until the age of 12 months).
What to expect from your child’s first dental appointment?
The dentist will start with a full medical history.
There are a few other topics you can expect to go over:
- Your baby’s teething
- Brushing techniques
- Bite (explaining how your baby’s teeth come together)
- Soothing habits like thumb sucking
- The risk of decay and practical ways to prevent it
- Prevention of traumatic injury to your baby’s mouth
- Nutritional advice for decay prevention
Tip: Always be positive about dentist appointments. Using dental visits as punishment for your child’s poor teeth brushing can create an aversion towards dentists.
It’s never too early to start modelling a healthy dental behaviour for your baby. If you don’t already have a family dentist, you can search for one near you on the Australian Dental Association’s website.