Brushing Teeth, When to Start?

Parents want to ensure that their children are healthy and they are willing to do anything for that. However, when it comes to brushing teeth and dental care, not many parents know how to take care of their children’s teeth in the best possible way.  This can be the reason children end up developing cavities starting at a very tender age. A major debate that parents often have is when is the right time to start brushing their children’s teeth. Let’s find all about your children’s oral hygiene.

Start Early

If you can’t see any tooth in your child’s mouth, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about their oral hygiene. Even if you don’t see any teeth, they are forming in the gum. This means that you need to keep the mouth clean in order to avoid any bacteria build-up. Take a soft damp cloth and gently rub it on your child’s gums. This will help get rid of any bacteria on the surface of the gums.

Begin to Brush

As soon as your baby gets their first tooth, start brushing it with an infant toothbrush. However, make sure you are not making use of adult toothpaste for brushing purpose. Select a fluoride toothpaste that is recommended by dentists and dilute with some water. Be careful regarding the amount of toothpaste you use as a baby only requires a small amount, just about the size of a grain of rice. Now, gently clean your baby’s gums and tiny teeth using the toothbrush.

Another thing that you need to be careful about is picking the right toothbrush. The toothbrush should have soft nylon bristles, which will not cause any damage to your child’s delicate gums. Also, replace the toothbrush every month or once the bristles begin to spread.

The Right Technique to Brushing Teeth

You cannot adopt the same brushing technique for your child that you follow yourself because your child’s teeth and gums are much more sensitive than yours. The best technique to brushing teeth for your child is to make small circular movements, so that you can reach every spot.

If possible it is better to allow your baby spit the excess toothpaste out of their mouth instead of pouring water into their mouth. Rinsing your baby’s mouth with water may cause choking. Do not brush your baby’s teeth when they are in a lying position. It is best to make your child sit in your lap and then brush their teeth gently. There is a high chance that your baby will try to resist getting their mouth cleaned. This happens because brushing teeth is new to them, which awakens the fight or flight response in them. Therefore, be very cautious while you brush their teeth to avoid hurting them.

Once your child is big enough to handle things on their own, let them brush their teeth by themselves. This will not only allow them to learn how to brush, but will also help them to feel in control.

toddlers brushing teeth

The Right Time to Brush

Brushing your baby’s teeth starting at a young age will help make them get used to the idea. That’s why make sure you brush their teeth twice a day. The best time to brush your children’s teeth is at night when your child has their last drink. The second brush time should be scheduled for mornings, when your baby wakes up. This will help make the baby learn the right timings for brushing, and will help them adapt to this habit.

Suitable Toothpaste for your Child

Now that you are preparing to buy your baby’s first toothbrush kit, you need to be extra careful in picking the right toothpaste. Your children are young and extremely sensitive. They are in the process of developing teeth and their diet is very different from yours. Therefore, you need to pick a toothpaste containing fluoride.

Now comes the tricky part; the quantity of fluoride. In order to pick suitable toothpaste for your little one, carefully read onto the packaging. Check to see the fluoride levels following the instructions given below:

  • If your child is under the age of three, pick the toothpaste with at least 1000ppm of fluoride.
  • Children older than three years can use the ordinary family toothpaste containing 1350ppm or 1500ppm of fluoride.

Fluoride is essential for fighting tooth decay, which young children are prone to getting due to their high intake of sugary foods.

Helpful Tips to protect your Child’s Teeth

There are many precautions that you can take to protect your baby’s teeth. One of the major reasons for tooth decay is sugar. Sugary foods can destroy the surface of the teeth unless removed. However, you should be aware of the fact that your baby’s teeth take a lot of time to clean off sugary substances, which means that eating sugary foods constantly can disrupt the natural cleaning process, causing decay.

Therefore, try to avoid feeding too much sugar to your child. Dry foods also contain high sugar that can stick to the teeth. Feed more vegetables and savory snacks to your little one to keep their teeth protected. Brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste will also prove to be beneficial in preventing decay and tooth damage.

Make Brushing Teeth Fun

Children often hate the idea of brushing their teeth. So, in order to convince them to brush their teeth regularly, you need to turn brushing into something fun and exciting. Try playing a fun song and ask your child to dance while brushing their teeth. You can also ask your child to brush your teeth while you brush theirs. When you make brushing entertaining, your child will automatically want to brush without you having to force them.

If you do not take care of your children’s teeth, there is a high chance that they may develop cavities. Many infants develop tooth decay, which causes dental problems. So, once your baby starts to develop teeth, make sure you start brushing them.

Tips for a reluctant brusher

  • Being consistent with brushing their teeth at the bed time routine
  • Brushing with Mum and Dad
  • Making it fun (sing a song)
  • From an early age allow your child to watch the parents brushing their teeth
  • Using colorful brushes or that have character themes on them

If you have any concerns regarding your children’s teeth, make an appointment with your Dentist.

© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.

Browse other Parenting Guide articles from Nanny Options
or keep up to date with us on Facebook.



Related Categories

Gift Vouchers

Gift Voucher Present
Gift Vouchers now available for all our services.

Members of NRF

Members of NRF

Other Parenting Guide Topics

Parenting Classes

Parents are eager to learn more about the range of baby products available.


A range of topics from food advice and sleeping to Signs of labour and giving birth. 


A collection of articles to support you and help you understand your newborn better.