When is the best time to start brushing a baby’s teeth?
Children should have their teeth cleaned as soon as the teeth erupt. In young infants this can be done with a small piece of gauze moistened with water, and should be done at least once each day. After the first birthday, many children are very interested in a small toothbrush and may want to hold it or try to help clean their teeth.
Toothpaste containing fluoride should not be used until the child is old enough to spit after brushing (3-4 years of age). Although children do need fluoride to build healthy teeth, swallowing fluoridated toothpaste in addition to drinking fluoridated water (or taking fluoride supplements for children whose water is not fluoridated) can add up to too much fluoride and can cause staining of the teeth. Orajel makes a fluoride-free toothpaste for young children and other manufacturers may do so as well.
Ideally, brush your child’s teeth after meals and at bedtime. Do establish it as a ritual and do make it fun! Your child needs to take care of her teeth for a lifetime!