A common mistake that new parents make is assuming that caring for their child’s baby teeth isn’t important because they fall out eventually anyway. What they don’t realize is that developing tooth decay as a preschooler or losing a baby tooth too soon has a major effect on the health of the adult teeth. That’s why we at Bay Area Kids Dentist place so much emphasis on how to brush your teeth for kids.

It’s Never Too Early to Start

A good oral healthcare routine starts long before your baby’s first tooth erupts. It’s important to clean the gums to remove the residue of breast milk or formula as well as baby food. To do this, just rub a damp cloth over your baby’s gums several times a day. Most children have their first tooth appear around six months of age. We recommend scheduling your baby’s first appointment with us by the time he or she turns one or has had teeth for at least six months. This helps to get your baby off to the best possible start with oral health.

Teach by Example

We advise parents to brush their child’s teeth with a toddler-sized toothbrush until around the age of two. It’s fine to use the toothbrush with only water until your child has the ability to spit toothpaste out and rinse his or her mouth. Because your child looks to you to set the example, be sure to demonstrate how you brush your own teeth and act enthusiastic about it. To prepare for independent tooth brushing, try brushing your child’s teeth and then request him or her to repeat the process alone.

When you think your toddler is ready, allow him or her the chance to try tooth brushing independently. Start by handing your child the toothbrush and use your hands to bring it up to your child’s mouth. Instruct your child to spend at least a few seconds scrubbing each tooth in a circular motion. You can even count 1-2-3 for each tooth. Offer plenty of praise and remember that your toddler will probably make a lot of mistakes before mastering tooth brushing for good. You will probably want to continue supervising the process until early elementary school to ensure quality results.