When Should I Start Brushing Baby's Teeth? Great Dental Hygiene Starts Early

When considering your baby's health, excellent dental hygiene is probably on the top of the list. After all, people who have dealt with a root canal probably want to spare their children from that experience. So even before those first teeth emerge, you probably want to make sure any future dentist visits are as cavity-free and painless as possible. Along these lines, you probably wonder: when should I start brushing baby's teeth?

For starters, you can begin cleaning your baby's mouth even before those first teeth appear. As noted in Parents, it's a smart idea to care for your baby's gums, especially once the teething stage has begun. Even something as simple as wiping down the gums with a damp washcloth can help your baby's mouth stay clean, as further explained in Parents. In addition, this habit can help your baby become accustomed to having her mouth cleaned every day.

As soon as those teeth emerge, it's time to break in your baby's first toothbrush. According to WebMD, you can start by using a tiny bit of toothpaste (about the size of one grain of rice) and a baby-sized toothbrush with soft bristles. Although the equipment may be tiny, most of the typical toothbrushing guidelines will still apply to your little one. For instance, brushing twice a day, using gentle motions, and replacing the toothbrush as soon as it's worn out are all good rules of thumb when it comes to baby's dental care, as explained by Baby Center. You're helping your baby develop a lifelong healthy habit.

Caring for those baby teeth is crucial, because they are not just a practice set for your child's adult teeth. As explained by the American Dental Association (ADA), baby teeth are crucial for your child's ability to talk, chew, and smile. What's more, the early loss of a baby tooth can lead to the premature arrival of an adult tooth, which can cause issues with crowding later on, as further explained by the ADA. Basically, caring for your baby's teeth now may help set the stage for the healthy arrival of permanent teeth later on.

If you have any questions about your baby's dental care, speak with a pediatrician or dentist. Because most children have their first visit to the dentist before their first birthday, there is plenty of time to address any concerns. In the meantime, enjoy teaching your baby all about the basics of toothbrushing.