As soon as your baby’s first teeth start to appear you should start brushing them twice a day with a toothbrush specially designed for babies little mouths. Babies accept things that are familiar to them, so do let them hold a brush, without toothpaste, to get used to the feel of it, but don’t be surprised if they start brushing their teeth, their hair, and even their favourite toy with it! Letting your baby watch you brush your teeth will also help encourage them to see it as a normal daily routine not to be scared of.
The easiest way to brush your baby’s teeth is by sitting them comfortably on your lap. A specially designed toothbrush for babies should be used as it will have super soft bristles and a small head that will allow you to get to those hard to reach parts of the mouth more easily and comfortably. If it’s still proving too difficult even with a baby brush and they only have a few teeth you could try using a bit of clean muslin wrapped around your finger at first.
Whichever option you choose, gently brush each tooth in a circular ‘scrub’ motion, keeping the bristles aiming down towards where the tooth and gum meet. Be careful to only use a pea-sized amount of baby toothpaste – this is important because babies tend to swallow most of it!
Finally, gently wipe the surface of the tongue as this can harbour the bacteria that cause tooth decay but be careful not to venture too far back or you may cause your baby discomfort.
At first cleaning your baby’s teeth can be a messy process. In time it will get easier as you become more confident and you are both able to relax. But in the meantime be prepared for it to get messy! Have a damp muslin or flannel at the ready to wipe away excess dribbles and toothpaste from the chin.