Daily tooth and mouth care
- Start cleaning your infant’s gums with a soft baby toothbrush or cloth and water.
- Begin brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste when your child’s teeth begin to come in.
- Use a very thin smear of toothpaste on the toothbrush.
- When you are away from home, rinse your child’s mouth with water after meals, snacks and giving medicine.
- If your child wants to brush, make sure you do a thorough cleaning at the end of the day. After your child brushes, you “check” with the toothbrush and finish with a thorough cleaning.
- Review toothbrushing for children with special needs.
Challenges with brushing
- Brushing does not have to happen in the bathroom-try your child’s room or other spaces.
- Brush with your child’s head in your lap or have your child lie on a bed or sofa (helps you see the teeth better and may make it easier for your child to hold still and keep their mouth open).
- Keep your child occupied as you brush. Give your child something to hold while you brush, have your child brush your teeth as you brush theirs, sing a song while brushing, or let your child watch in the mirror.
- If your child is sensitive to toothpaste, dip the toothbrush (or cloth or cotton swab) into fluoride mouth rinse and use that instead.
- For children who might gag, try letting your child get used to a toothbrush slowly. Let your child “teeth” or chew on a toothbrush or NUK toothbrush trainer for a few weeks to get used to the feel of it in their mouth. Then slowly take over and work toward the actual brushing.
- If your child cannot spit try wiping their mouth with a cloth after brushing.
- Ask for professional help to decrease mouth sensitivity and increase tolerance.