Baby Dental Health 101
When (and How) You Should Start Brushing
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Counting down the days till her pearly whites come in? That’s when it’s time to start brushing, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). But you should be cleaning her mouth long before those baby teeth sprout up.
Prevent bacteria build-up by cleaning your infant’s gums with a damp, warm cloth or a piece of gauze after each feeding. Rub off excess food with a silicone finger toothbrush (similar to a thimble) sold in the feeding section of baby stores.
Once her full set comes in (usually around age two), get into the habit of brushing her teeth at least once a day at bedtime with a soft-bristled baby toothbrush. Don’t go overboard on the toothpaste as they get older either, says the AAP. Use a small amount (we’re talking a grain of rice) of fluoride-free, toddler-safe toothpaste until you’re sure she’s not swallowing it.
When to See the Dentist
If she doesn’t have teeth yet, it may seem like an annual visit is eons away; but you should schedule her first check-up when she gets her first tooth or by her first birthday, recommends the AAP.
When to Start Flossing
Setting your kid up for a healthy mouth down the road means flossing as soon as two teeth touch, advises the American Dental Association (ADA). To make sure it’s done properly, you’ll have to floss for her until she’s around 10. If regular floss is too daunting, opt for floss sticks instead.