It's a big moment when your baby's teeth start coming through. This will usually happen at around six months, although some children don't get teeth until well after their first birthday. Whenever your baby begins to get their teeth, it's important to know when and how to start caring for them. Below are some tips to help keep your baby's teeth clean and healthy. 

Start Brushing

You can start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as the first one appears. Be very gentle at first and don't worry if you don't manage to brush all of them to begin with. It is important to get your baby used to the regime of brushing, and the earlier you start, the sooner this will happen. 

Age Appropriate Toothpaste

Brushing with fluoride is one of the best ways to fight tooth decay so it is important to use fluoride on your baby's teeth. However, children under three should not use regular toothpaste which will contain between 1,300 and 1,500ppm (parts per million) of fluoride. Instead, buy an age appropriate paste, which should contain around 1,000 ppm of fluoride. Too much fluoride can lead to enamel fluorosis, a condition which results in white flecking or mottling of the teeth.

The Best Way To Brush

You can usually start straight away with a soft bristled, baby sized brush. However, if you are starting when your child has very few teeth, you could use a clean piece of gauze wrapped around your finger and lightly smeared with toothpaste. The best way to brush your child's teeth is to sit them on your knee with their head against your chest. Try brushing in front of a mirror so you can see what you're doing and your baby gets used to watching the process. Use gentle circular motions to clean the teeth. Encourage your child to spit after brushing, but there is no need to rinse afterwards. Instead, allow the fluoride to stay in the mouth as it will help to break down harmful bacteria that cause plaque. 

Build a Regime

Aim to build up to two brushes a day as soon as possible. One should be before bed, and you should make sure the other fits in well with your baby's existing regime. Try to clean all the surfaces of the teeth if you can. Many children do not like having their teeth brushed so you may need to introduce games or songs to make the process fun. Another good idea is to brush your own teeth at the same time of day (either before or after your baby) as way of normalising good oral hygiene.

It is never too earlier to start developing good oral hygiene. By getting your child into the habit of regular tooth brushing, you are setting them on the road to a lifetime of great dental health. For more information, contact a family dentist in your area.