A baby’s smile is one of the most precious things on earth—and the job of keeping this smile perfect comes down to us.
We want to ensure that when their first little teeth pop through that we have established good cleaning habits that will last them through childhood.
Here you can find some advice on how to clean your little one’s teeth: from the baby stage to the tricky toddler months and beyond.
The Baby Teeth
Their little teeth can arrive anywhere between three and 12 months, but the average is around six.
When teeth have only just erupted, a finger brush, gum wipe or clean washcloth are gentle, easy methods of getting rid of liquid and food debris.
Try and get into a routine of cleaning baby’s teeth and gums twice a day, including just after their final feed, as the sugars in milk and juice will lie on their teeth overnight.
By the time they get to kindergarten in Hong Kong, two out of five children will suffer from tooth decay.
The Toddler Teeth
When your baby reaches the one year mark, you can move on to a soft-bristle child’s toothbrush (less abrasive) with specially formulated toothpaste.
You’ll find you still need to assist in cleaning to ensure that the brush reaches all the teeth—especially the grooves of molars, as well as the gums and tongue.
As your baby becomes a toddler, cleaning teeth is easier said than done!
Here are some tooth brushing tips we’ve rounded up to help you make this as painless as possible:
Toddler Tooth Brushing Hacks
Start early: As well as ensuring early dental hygiene, if you start implementing brushing from a very young age, your toddler will be used to having something in their mouth and touching their gums.
Make it routine: Every morning and every evening turn brushing into such a part of the daily routine that your kids will even remind you when you forget. A daily star or sticker chart can help to remind everyone as well as motivate.
Let them experiment: When your toddler is old enough, let them suck and chew on their own toothbrush—exploring it the way they want. Gradually they will start to love the routine of brushing if they can feel like they’re in control.
Become a role model: Try to clean teeth together so your children will not only get help from you but also learn that you take care of your teeth as well. Toddlers are paying attention to everything, even though it may not seem like it!
Mix it up: In the morning, let them brush their own teeth so they take on the responsibility but in the evening, you take it back to ensure a proper cleaning.
Use an attractive brush: Kids will love fun brushes with a design inspired by cartoon characters or animals. You can even let them choose their own at the supermarket.
Electric toothbrush: You may use one, but did you know you can get them for kids too? Toddlers and small kids will find an electric toothbrush helps them to understand the correct movements needed.
Toothbrush timer: You can buy a cute toothbrush timer so that your toddler learns to brush for a proper amount of time. You can even use an egg timer or a song as a brushing timer.
Show videos: Show them some tooth brushing YouTube videos or books which will encourage them and make dental care that bit more fun.
Use an app: All kids are tech fans so turn brushing into mobile fun with an app such as Brush Up. This toothbrush training game teaches technique using music, characters and play.
Show the plaque: When they’re a bit older, kids might like to try plaque disclosing tablets, which color any spots of plaque on your teeth with a dye so that you can focus your brushing in these areas.
With good training from an early age, brushing becomes a habit and many kids will even start to enjoy it.
If you’re consistent with dental hygiene, you can save them from lots of oral health issues—and they will thank you when they’re teenagers, we promise!