How to Make Cleaning Your Baby’s Teeth Easy
I love it when babies start getting their teeth! They go from this gummy smile to a mouth full of teeth in no time.
Did you know that those baby teeth need your attention? Yes, they need to be cleaned daily just like you brush your teeth every day.
Now, keeping your baby’s teeth doesn’t have to be complicated. Let me share with you some ways to keep your baby’s teeth clean.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using any of the links.
You can use something as simple as a washcloth or gauze pad. Just wet the washcloth so that it is damp and gently rub those little teeth and gums. Start doing this as soon as your baby gets those first teeth around 6-10 months. This is important for a few reasons.
Getting used to you in their mouth
First, it gets your baby use to you being in their mouth.
Many times I hear parents say that their kids hate them brushing their teeth and they have to fight to get it done. Many times I have found that when parents start early it makes it a little easier as they grow older.
Don’t get me wrong. Your little one is going to resist you at times as they grow up. But, at least you will start getting them into a routine that will help minimize the tears and tantrums.
We want to make brushing a fun experience and not a chore.
Reduce the chance of cavities
Secondly, cleaning your baby’s teeth helps reduce the plaque on their teeth that can eventually lead to cavities. This happens with bottle-fed babies and breastfed babies.
Yes, it’s true. There are natural sugars in breast milk that help feed the bacteria that cause cavities. So, you definitely want to make sure to clean your baby’s teeth after nursing.
One of my favorites is the finger brush. This brush helps transition your little one from the washcloth to a toothbrush. This little brush is very gentle and feels good on your baby’s gums especially when they are teething.
You can use this finger brush and start using some training toothpaste when brushing your little one’s teeth. Only a smear of the training paste is needed. You don’t need much.
The training toothpaste actually tastes pretty good too. You should try it!
Don’t be discouraged if all your little one wants to do is suck the training toothpaste off because it tastes so good. It is ok.
Remember, we are trying to get in there with the least amount of resistance as possible. Just like with the washcloth, you want to gently rub your baby’s teeth.
Now if your baby is going through those periods where they are feed a lot more than usual, using one of the xylitol wipes (like Spiffies) will be beneficial.
I love these wipes. They have a really mild taste, but the best part is it has xylitol.
So, what is xylitol? Xylitol is a sugar found in nature that inhibits the bacteria in the mouth from producing acid, which leads to cavities.
The way I like to visualize it is like this … Remember watching cartoons where the character eats something and then their eyes get big and they blow up? LOL. That is kinda what happens when those bacteria try to eat xylitol.
These wipes come in convenient little pouches, so you can slip them anywhere. Keep a few in the diaper bag and in the area where you feed the baby the most so that you can wipe after feeding.
You can begin introducing the toothbrush around 9 months or sooner. If you give your baby a toothbrush earlier that is perfectly fine too.
Remember, when you are looking for a toothbrush you want to find one that is small and has soft bristles. You can continue using the training toothpaste with the toothbrush.
Most of the packaging recommend to start using kids toothpaste (with fluoride) is at 2-3 years of age, however, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has changed this recently.
“… brushing of teeth with appropriate amounts of fluoride toothpaste (e.g., no more than a smear or rice-sized amount for children less than three years of age; no more than a pea-sized amount for children aged three to six) twice daily for all children”
You only need a tiny amount of toothpaste if you decide to give it to your child. A rice size amount is no much a lot.
When you are trying to decide which toothpaste to purchase, just look for the ADA seal of acceptance.
Like I pointed out earlier you want to be gentle when brushing your child’s teeth. For a few reasons.
One, your child will immediately not like you brushing their teeth rough and start crying and resisting you which is one thing we are trying to avoid.
Two, the plaque on your child’s teeth is soft and doesn’t take muscle to remove.
You want to make brushing fun. I know it may sound silly. But, you want you child to enjoy brushing their teeth now so that when they are teenagers they will have developed healthy brushing habits.
Few things to remember about the toothbrush
There are a few things I want you to remember about your baby’s toothbrush (and yours).
- When the bristles begin to fray or get rough, throw the toothbrush away. It is time to replace the toothbrush.
- When your baby gets sick, throw away the toothbrush and replace it. You do not want to put those germs that got your baby sick back into their mouth.
- Typically you will want to replace your tooth and your baby’s toothbrush every 3-4 months. Earlier if you notice any of the things mentioned above.
- Remember to store the toothbrush upright so that the bristles can dry after rinsing it with water. Don’t put it in a closed container.
Now you see it. It’s not that complicated.
Keep your baby’s teeth clean starts as soon as those teeth come in. You can use a damp washcloth and gradually introduce the finger brush and xylitol wipes before brushing with a toothbrush.
Remember to schedule your little one’s first dental appointment when their first tooth comes in or by their first birthday.
You are doing great mom! Let me know in the comments below if there is something that you use to clean your baby’s teeth that I did not mention.
With lots of love,