Brushing your baby’s teeth
Should I brush my baby’s gums?
Brushing for very young children
You should start cleaning your child’s mouth as early as possible after birth. It is important to get him or her used to the process, while keeping his or her mouth as clean as possible.
How to brush the baby’s teeth
To start, clean your child’s gums with a clean damp cloth wrapped around your finger. This removes food debris while massaging the gums.
Dental plaque can stick to the surfaces of teeth as soon as they appear, so it is important to start cleaning them right away with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Later, you will need to floss between teeth that touch.
Sweets: some recommendations
Whenever children eat or drink sweet food or beverages, particles stick to their teeth. If they aren’t removed by brushing and flossing, bacteria in the mouth transform the sugars in the particles into acids. These acids attack the tooth enamel and over time create a cavity.
- It is best to eat sweets after a meal. There is more saliva at that point, which helps to eliminate the excess sugar and neutralize some of the acids that attack the teeth.
- Ask your children to brush their teeth right after eating sweets, if possible. Otherwise, give them a glass of water, as that will help to dilute some of the sugars and acids.
- Avoid soft, sticky candies that get stuck between the teeth.
- Remind your children to brush their teeth and floss before bedtime.
Prolonged contact between milk or sweet liquids and children’s teeth can lead to cavities, so it is never a good idea to let children sleep or fall asleep with a bottle, unless it contains only water. It is also strongly recommended that children be weaned from the bottle once they reach about 12 months, and instead drink from a glass. This prevents the continuous and prolonged contact between liquids and teeth that can cause cavities.