When is the right time to start brushing your baby’s teeth?

According to the latest research, 486 million children suffer from caries of primary teeth.   We, the parents, are responsible for healthy teeth of our children. This extremely high percentage is alarming and shows that we’re unconsciously making mistakes when it comes to the health of baby’s teeth.  

Children’s dental care should start as soonest, even before the baby gets their first tooth. Proper and regular diet, continuous and appropriate dental hygiene of the child at the earliest age, as well as regular visits to the dentist’s office,   is the only way that will result in a radiant smile of your children. Nice and healthy teeth are important for a child’s proper growth and development. They give children a pearl-white smile and allow them to eat, speak and develop psychologically and physically without problems.

Parents should be aware that their oral health is very important for the oral health of their babies. Namely, the “vertical transmission of bacteria” enables the bacteria from parents’ mouth to transmit to the baby’s oral cavity. This is why it is very important that parents take care of their oral health.

Parents often have doubts as to when it is the right time to start brushing their baby’s teeth. The answer is – from the very beginning.

Therefore, parents should start taking care of their baby’s oral health before it gets its first teeth. This is the period when parents should clean the oral cavity of their child after meals with a clean gauze wrapped around their finger, soaked with unsaturated chamomile tea, twice a day. There are specially designed hygiene preparations adapted to their age, a type of thimble made from silicone. Whatever parents choose, they will make no mistake. All that matters is to start taking care of oral hygiene of a baby at the earliest age.

It is usually around the sixth month of life when the baby gets its first tooth. Lower central incisors come out first (front teeth), followed by upper, then lateral incisors. Following the first birthday, the child gets the first deciduous molars. Canine teeth come out by the eighteenth month, and second deciduous molars come out last. So, by the time a child turns three, he should have all 20 deciduous teeth.

With the appearance of the first tooth, the cleaning of the mouth cavity should be supplemented with the use of soft toothbrushes, with small heads, which the child can chew on in the period while their teeth are growing. In that way, the baby accepts the toothbrush as one of its toys.

Parents should be aware that their oral health is very important for the oral health of their babies.Parents should be aware that their oral health is very important for the oral health of their babies.

Once the baby turns one, toothpaste for that age should be introduced.

Often, it is not simple to fulfill this task as a parent. Certain babies protest when we try to brush their little teeth. Not because it is painful or unpleasant to them, but they refuse to have a brush put in their mouth and moved around for reasons only known to them. Since our objective is to have the child accept it as soon as possible, we must not give up. Sometimes it is easier to make it a key part of the bathing ritual.

Even though children can demonstrate a desire to brush their teeth independently very early, it is still the task of the parent, until the child develops the coordination necessary to master the techniques of tooth brushing, which usually happens no earlier than the eight year. Even then, supervision and control by the parents are necessary, in order to ensure that the child is brushing their teeth properly and for a sufficiently long time.

Dentists recommend that the first dental examination, i.e. a preventive dentist examination, should be performed in the first year of a child’s life. An early first check-up ensures that parents are educated and motivated to practice proper diet, and regular and proper oral hygiene for the purpose of forming positive habits, in order to protect and improve the child’s oral health.

About the author: Ljubica Pavlovic Trifunovic is a pediatric dentist. She joined the authors of the Novak Djokovic Foundation blog with a desire to raise awareness about the importance of children’s dental care. Besides her love for her work, her great passion is traveling.