The most influential years are the childhood years and it is the time when a child will learn lifelong habits. During these initial years, if a child learns bad habits, it is often difficult to change these habits lifelong.  A child’s daily routine includes feeding, sleeping, play and yes, it is incomplete without hygiene habits like brushing their teeth. Although brushing child’s teeth is one of the difficult tasks for parents, but it is a very important part of child’s health and hygiene routine. Although a child’s primary teeth are temporary and will get replaced by permanent teeth during early school years, that doesn’t decrease the importance of taking good care of those temporary teeth. Developing a good habit of proper oral hygiene is one of the most important parts of parenting.

When should I start brushing my toddler’s teeth

Image credit goes to Flickr makelessnoise

Good oral care begins from the early stage of your child’s life. Before the emergence of child’s teeth also, there are certain factors that affect the teeth’s future appearance and health. For example, tetracycline, a very common antibiotic causes discoloration of the child’s teeth. Therefore, it is advised for nursing mothers and pregnant ladies not to eat this antibiotic as it adversely affects her baby’s teeth. If proper oral care is not taken, decayed teeth can interfere with nutritional behaviors and speech development of a child. Moreover, it will also destroy the place for permanent teeth and results in crooked teeth.

Wondering at what age you should start brushing your baby teeth!

Well, at first you should know that your baby has 20 primary teeth, at the time of their birth. They are not visible because they remain hidden inside the gums. Therefore, the perfect time to start good dental care is before the first tooth pushes through the gum.

Here are the steps how you can easily introduce your child to brushing

After birth: After birth, you can use clean, moistened and soft cloths for cleaning your baby’s gum. This helps in preventing the formation of bacteria in the gums, before teething.

From 12 months: When your baby starts teething, you can clean your baby teeth by using a very soft, infant toothbrush using warm water. Nowadays, finger brush made of soft silicone rubber is available making it very convenient for the mother to clean her child’s teeth without hurting him or her.

From 18 months: When your baby completes 18 months, you can use fluoride toothpaste for cleaning your baby teeth. But it is recommended to use a very less amount of toothpaste, say about a size of rice grain.

At 3 years old: At this age, start using a more amount of toothpaste than before, according to the growth of teeth and teach your toddler to spit in-between. When your child’s teeth start touching each other, start flossing.

Now, are you worried thinking if your baby will not cooperate during brushing time? Follow some simple steps given below to make the process simple both for you and your baby:

Do it easy– As we all know baby gum is very soft therefore your baby may not like the brush. In that case, you can try some soft, damp cloth and gently clean the gums.

Distracting- If your baby is not cooperating for brushing, try to distract him or her by singing their favorite line or some rhymes. Babies love listening mothers voice. This will help you to easily clean their teeth, while they are busy listening to you.

Do it in playing method– To help them learn you can show them how you are brushing. And also, you can brush together and make a game out of it, like who will first finish brushing. This will encourage them to enjoy the session.

Hand over the brush to your baby– Your baby may be curious enough to hold the brush and play with it. Allow them to enjoy it and it may happen that while playing they may start putting the brush inside the mouth and develop interest.

Buy a funny toothbrush– Nowadays, different kinds of toothbrushes are available that are designed keeping a child’s interest in mind. This toothbrush can develop curiosity in your child for brushing their teeth with that toothbrush.

Above all, the baby is yours and nobody can know him or her better than you! With the passage of time and with experience, you will slowly know how you can convince your child for easy brushing session. So, start good oral care of your little ones, right from their birth and keep them free from oral diseases.