There are many unknown experiences you have to navigate when you're a new parent, and it's hard not to worry about what's best for your baby. Whether or not your little one's first tooth has come in, you may be wondering when is the best time to start brushing their teeth or using toothpaste.
For even the gummiest babies, it's important to establish good dental health habits early—and when it comes to using toddler toothpaste, the answer is simple: the earlier, the better.
When Should You Start Brushing Your Baby's Teeth?
Did you know that proper infant oral care begins before babies even start teething? By cleaning your baby's gums, you can help to promote good dental health. The American Dental Association (ADA) says the best way to clean their gums is by wiping them with a clean, moist washcloth or gauze pad.
So, what's the proper age for toothpaste and brushing? As soon as teeth appear, according to the ADA. Once your baby's teeth begin poking through, they're vulnerable to decay. Not only that, but if a baby tooth is lost too early, your child's other teeth could shift, causing issues when their adult teeth come in. But don't worry: you can easily prevent toddler tooth decay by regular brushing with toddler toothpaste as soon as their first tooth comes in. Just watch how much you're using. The ADA advises that children younger than three years old shouldn't use more than a smear of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice.
How to Establish a Brushing Routine
The ADA advises that you should clean your little one's teeth twice a day. In my family, we began brushing our daughter's teeth during her nightly bath time routine. This made it easy for us to remember, and it also helped our little girl establish teeth brushing as a healthy habit. Now, she knows that we brush our teeth every night before bed. You can also incorporate a morning routine around breakfast time or when it's time to get dressed for the day.
Every parent wants their child's toothy smile to stay bright and healthy. But early dental care can also affect things we take for granted, such as the ability to chew properly and pronounce words. By starting your child on the path toward healthy habits early, you can help them avoid issues with eating and speech.
How to Choose a Toddler Toothpaste
You may remember being told as a kid to never swallow toothpaste, but relaying this message to your toddler can be a challenge. The good news is that, with fluoride-free toothpaste, you have a little wiggle room as you start to teach this lesson. Warnings about swallowing toothpaste primarily relate to fluoride consumption. While this ingredient protects and strengthens teeth, swallowing too much of it can lead to permanent tooth stains, as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explains.
Many toddler toothpastes are fluoride-free and are effective at removing plaque. By choosing a toddler toothpaste made with naturally sourced ingredients, you can feel even more at ease if your little one happens to swallow the product. Tom's of Maine Fluoride-Free Toddler Training Toothpaste is SLS-free, propylene glycol-free, and safe if swallowed. The formula is specially made for children between three and twenty-four months. It also has a mild fruit flavor that's appealing to toddlers.
My daughter loves brushing her teeth, and she loves the taste of her toothpaste. However, if your child resists toothpaste at first, the AAP recommends brushing with just water for a while. This way, you can still remove as much plaque as possible while building a routine.
Have you started brushing your toddler's teeth? Show us your routine by tagging @toms_of_maine in your Instagram photos!
Image Sources: Pixabay | Bridget M. Burns | Bridget M. Burns
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Why It's Good
Tooth decay can develop as soon as your child's first tooth appears. By introducing regular brushing with a safe toddler toothpaste, you can establish good oral health habits early and get ahead of any potential dental issues.