Should You Brush Your Baby's Teeth? An FAQ For New Parents

Many new parents find they have questions about their baby's oral hygiene. Knowing when to start brushing your baby's teeth, when to take your baby to the dentist, and how to get your baby to cooperate in both of these activities can help you take care of your baby's teeth.

Should you brush your baby's teeth?

Babies should have their teeth brushed as soon as the first tooth erupts from the gums. This helps protect your baby's teeth from tooth decay and cavities. Establishing a tooth brushing habit from an early age also teaches your baby that tooth brushing is an important part of self-care.

Can you use normal toothpaste for your baby?

Babies need toothpaste that is specially formulated for infants. This kind of toothpaste usually has no fluoride because babies cannot be trusted not to swallow their toothpaste, and consuming too much fluoride can be bad for your baby.

How can you convince a baby to cooperate during tooth brushing time?

There are many small things you can do to get your baby to cooperate with tooth brushing time, including:

  • Brush your teeth at the same time. Show your baby how you brush your teeth. Modeling good behavior will show your baby what tooth brushing is supposed to look like. Doing tooth brushing with your baby can also help your baby feel included, which can make your baby feel more cooperative.
  • Show your baby an entertaining video. Giving your baby a special treat, like showing a fun video, may help your baby feel relaxed and happy during tooth brushing time.
  • Sing a special song during tooth brushing time. Dancing and singing during tooth brushing time can make the event feel more festive and enjoyable for your baby.

When should you take your baby to the dentist for the first time?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that babies see the dentist for the first time when the first tooth erupts, and no later than the first birthday.

How can you calm a baby who is afraid of the dentist?

Babies who are afraid of strangers or who have a fear of the dentist specifically may have an easier time with the dentist if you do the following:

  • Bring a comfort toy to the dentist office when you go.
  • Tell the dentist ahead of time so he or she can adjust his or her behavior accordingly.
  • Bring your child to the dentist on a regular basis to help your baby adjust to the dentist and the dental office environment.
  • Talk about the dentist in the days before going so your baby can feel more prepared for the visit.
  • Allow your baby to listen to music or watch a comforting video on your smart phone while in the dentist office.

For more tips and suggestions, talk to a dentist, like C. James Goodwin, DDS, PLLC, while at the office.