Today is important. We’re going to talk about how to brush a baby’s teeth. During my four years in Pediatric Dentistry, I regularly saw many babies as young as 18 months who needed extensive dental surgery.
Surgery that required general sedation.
I want to tell you how to prevent that because I don’t want your baby (or you) to have to go through it. Prevention is easier than you think, but requires the knowledge I’m giving you and determination from a mom like you, who is willing to do what it takes to keep her baby’s mouth healthy!
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Ok… let’s go.
15 Steps For How To Brush A Baby’s Teeth And Prevent Cavities!
On Your Mark.
- #2. Buy non-fluoridated training toothpaste like this.
- #3. Buy flossers like these. (these flossers are coated in fluoride, which is good for teeth, and totally safe since he won’t be eating the flosser!)
- #4. Allow your baby to chew on his toothbrush while seated. He can do this after nursing, having a bottle or a baby food meal, or anytime just for fun. Rinse the toothbrush with hot water afterward.
- #5. Have a talk with your baby about what you are going to do and why. It should sound like this, “I’m so excited for you! Today we are going to start taking really good care of your teeth, so you don’t get boo-boo’s on them!” No, he won’t understand you, that’s not the point. Mommy’s miss out on lots of child training by falsely thinking a child has to completely understand FIRST, instead of training, SO they understand!
- #6. Make the first brushing at bedtime. After a bath, lotion, jammies, and bottle or breast, but before rocking, reading, or snuggling.
- #7. At the appointed time, gather toothbrush (with paste already on it!) and a flosser.
- #8. Position your baby on the changing table or floor with your belly at his head. Hold both his hands at one time in your non-dominant hand, and hold his toothbrush in your dominant hand.
- #9. Gently but firmly hold his head between your forearm (the one you are using to hold his hands) and your belly.
- #10. Begin brushing his teeth quickly, but THOROUGHLY. Brushing all 3 visible sides of the teeth in the following pattern:
- a) brush the outside surface of the teeth (this is the side touching the inside of his cheeks) using up and down circular motions.
- b) brush the chewing surface of his teeth using straight back and forth motions.
- c) brush the inside surface of his teeth (this is the side his tongue and roof of his mouth touches) using up and down circular motions.
- #11. Speak cheerfully while brushing and tell him what you are doing. No matter how he responds, it’s important that you stay positive and keep going until you have done a thorough job!
- #12. Quickly switch to your flosser after thorough brushing is complete. Floss between any teeth that touch. Insert flosser between two teeth, gently apply pressure to one tooth and move flosser up and down, then gently apply pressure to the other tooth and move up and down.
- #13. After completing brushing and flossing, release your baby and give a clap of praise! Make a big, happy deal! Say, “Yay! You did it! Your teeth are all super clean! I’m so proud of you! You did a great job!” In your happiest proudest voice. Do this no matter how the tooth-brushing session went! He is getting his cues from you, not the other way around!
- #14. Do this twice a day, every day.
- #15. Your baby may love the entire experience and never cry. OR your baby may cry from start to finish! He may cry for every tooth-brushing session for the next 6 months. Either way is OK!
What if My Baby Doesn’t Like It?
He is mad. He is not hurt. You are doing a great service for him by preventing cavities and future dental treatment! Likewise, you’re doing a disservice if you’re not properly caring for his teeth. Regardless of whether he laughs or cries, do it anyway! Your baby doesn’t get to decide that he won’t let you brush his teeth!
Spend far less time trying to figure out how to make it fun and far more time concerned with the health of his teeth and creating great habits that will last him a lifetime!
Now that I have given you all the instructions you need to brush your baby’s teeth and prevent cavities and dental surgery, I need to tell you 3 Important Facts you must know to keep his mouth healthy.
Baby Teeth Cavity Facts!
Important fact #1. Formula, breast-milk, and baby food will cause cavities. Once a tooth is present inside your baby’s mouth, it’s time to start the process of cutting out nighttime feedings. This also means it’s a great time to begin sleep training.
Be sure to brush AFTER baby’s last bottle or nursing session for the day.
Important fact #2. At 6 months of age, your baby could have as many as two teeth, and by 12 months could have as many as 12 (however 8 is more likely.) Those first teeth will be in his mouth for the next 5-7 years, so they need to stay healthy from the moment they arrive!
Important fact #3. Just about the time, you feel you are excessively cleaning your baby’s teeth, is when you are doing it right!
Important fact #4. It’s not his decision to make. Right now, while he is a baby, whether or not he gets cavities is your decision. One day, he will be grown and deciding for himself whether or not he brushes his teeth (eewww!) You are bigger, stronger, and know better than your baby. Brush his teeth. Do it right. Get the job done!
Say No Thank You To Baby Teeth Cavities!
Finally, there it is! Phew, you now know all you need to know to keep your baby cavity-free. I have given you a 15 step process and a lot of important information. Use this information to prevent cavities so you don’t find yourself researching how to treat cavities!
Keep your baby’s mouth healthy! It always broke my heart to see a tiny baby have to be put to sleep to fix cavities.
When you begin brushing your baby’s teeth correctly, remember that the real gift you are giving him is creating a great habit. Your baby will grow to be a child, then an adult, who understands the importance of teeth care, because that’s the way it’s always been! Learning how to brush a baby’s teeth is an important addition to your mommy expertise!
Following these steps will keep him cavity-free. It’s worked for all 4 of mine and it will work for your sweet baby too.