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Tiny Teeth, Big Responsibility – A Guide To Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth

This guide is all about your baby’s first teeth. It was produced by Dr. Neha, our dentist owner, well seasoned with experience of kids’ teeth at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Today we cover the following topics:

  • When babies start to develop teeth?
  • When to start brushing your baby’s teeth
  • A guide to brushing your baby’s teeth
  • Common challenges & ideas to overcome them

When Do Babies Start To Develop Teeth?

Most babies start teething around 6 months old, but the exact age can vary. Some babies may start as early as 3 months old, while others may not start until 12 months old. It’s important to remember that every baby develops at their own pace, so don’t worry if your baby’s teeth don’t follow a typical timeline.

When to Start Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth

Believe it or not, your baby’s gums need some TLC even before their first tooth makes an appearance. It’s like the saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You can start by wiping their precious little gums with a soft, damp cloth after feeding to remove bacteria and prevent plaque buildup. Remember, they can’t swish all their saliva around yet to clean their mouth after each feed, so it’s like giving their gums a spa treatment before the teeth pop up!

Once your baby’s first tooth decides to make its grand entrance, you’ll need to brush those teeth (or tooth, as the case may be)! Here’s a little help in getting prepared for that…

A Guide to Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth

Firstly, choose the right toothbrush. Look for a soft-bristled toothbrush that is specifically designed for babies. The head should be small enough to fit comfortably in your baby’s mouth, and the handle should be easy for you to grip. 

Use a smear of toothpaste. A tiny amount of baby toothpaste is all that’s needed for your little one’s pearly whites. Once your baby has a tooth, use a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. As your baby grows and develops more teeth, you can increase the amount of toothpaste to the size of a pea.

Brush gently. Using a circular motion, gently brush your baby’s teeth and gums, paying extra attention to the back molars where cavities are more likely to form. You can also sing a song or make it a fun game to make brushing more enjoyable for your little one.

Just make sure they don’t accidentally bite down on your finger. Trust us, it’s not as funny as it sounds. (Just ask Charlie’s brother … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EqSXDwTq6U)

Common Challenges & Ideas To Overcome Them

Here are some of the common challenges and how to overcome them:

  • Resistance to brushing:
    • Try to make brushing fun by using a silly voice or singing a song, and make sure to praise your baby for their cooperation. You can use a brushing teeth song (which let’s be honest, will inevitably be stuck in our heads all day) like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCio_xVlgQ0&ab_channel=SuperSimpleSongs-KidsSongs
    • Give them their brightly coloured toothbrush to hold and play around and put into their mouth themselves, so they can get used to it in their own way. 
    • Remember, babies also tend to learn from copying and what they see. When you brush your teeth try to do this in front of them.
  • Refusing toothpaste:
    • If your baby doesn’t like the taste of toothpaste, try a different brand or flavour (maybe less minty). 
    • Try to brush without toothpaste for a while, just water, and then gradually reintroduce it.
  • Biting the toothbrush:
    • Try gently removing the toothbrush and distracting your baby with a toy or song before trying again. If they start crying, quickly take the opportunity and give their teeth a brush before soothing them!

Remember, taking care of your baby’s teeth is an important part of their overall health and well-being. By starting early and following these tips, you can help your baby develop strong and healthy teeth for years to come.

Want To Stay Ahead Of The Curve?

Take a look at our Grow with Me development toy boxes. Rather than worrying about their developmental progress after they’re born, leave that to us. We provide a monthly research-based sensory subscription for developing cognitive & motor skills through play in 0-24 month-olds, leaving you to focus on spending quality time with your new family addition!