Your child’s first tooth should erupt between 6-10 months of age, but even before then, you should be wiping down your child’s gums with a damp cloth. As soon as that first tooth does appear, you need to start brushing their teeth with an infant toothbrush. Even infants can get cavities, known as baby bottle tooth decay, so it’s important to keep up with your child’s oral hygiene. The sooner you start a good oral hygiene routine, the easier it will be for your chid to continue doing it throughout their life.
There are several different types of toothbrushes that are suited for each stage in your child’s life. The types are:
- Baby gum brush/baby finger brush
This brush fits on your finger like a thimble, and it’s designed to clean an infant’s gums before or as the first tooth erupts. Some are made of silicon, but some are simply pieces of cloth that you wrap around your finger. It’s a simple wiping action, so no toothpaste is required. They work best when used in a mouth that is more gum than tooth.
- Teether toothbrush
This toothbrush is specially designed for babies who are teething. It comes in a toothbrush shape, but it’s made out of silicone with extra soft bristles for sensitive gums. It’s basically a toothbrush and a teether all rolled into one, so it relieves gum pain and cleans the mouth. No toothpaste is required.
- First baby toothbrush
This is a toothbrush with soft bristles perfect for your child’s new teeth and sensitive gums. It resembles a regular adult toothbrush, and it should be used with a dab of fluoride-free toothpaste.
- Baby or toddler electric toothbrush
This one is just like the adult electric toothbrushes except this one is smaller and has softer bristles. Use a dab of fluoride-free toothpaste.
- Toddler toothbrush
This toothbrush is the most common one you see in stores in the children’s section with the tv show characters. Since your child should be able to hold and use this one themselves, let them pick out their favorite one. This could also help them brush their teeth because then they’ll want to use the toothbrush they picked out to brush their teeth. You should use fluoride-free toothpaste until your child is 3 years old or unless your dentist says otherwise.
Overall, you need to look for:
- A smaller head of the brush to make sure it fits in your child’s mouth
- Soft bristles that won’t irritate your child’s gums
- Material should be BPA and phthalate free
- Change toothbrush at least every three months or until the bristles are worn
There are many different kinds of toothbrushes out there, so choose one that you think is best for your child. If you need recommendations, talk to your child’s dentist, and they can help you pick something out.