We all know the importance of teaching a baby good dental habits from an early age. Actually teaching baby to brush -- not to mention flossing -- is a fine art that can take some practice and tips.
For our baby, we introduced an infant “first tooth cleaner” as soon as her first tooth appeared. It’s great for massaging tender gums, and getting baby used to something in her mouth, rubbing her gums and teeth.
At three months, our baby was heavily in the throes of teething so we switched to a massaging toothbrush to give her something to chew on and rub her sore gums against, as well as enable us to clean those new teeth coming through.
We kept up the routine, brushing every night before bed, and singing our special “It’s time to brush your teeth!” song, which she loved.
After six months, we gave her a regular infant toothbrush. Our routine never changed, and she started to respond when we said “It’s time to brush your teeth!”
At age one, we took her for her first dentist check up, to expose her to the new experience and develop good habits early, just like with the brushing.
Now, at almost age two, our toddler asks to brush her teeth twice a day by making brushing motions with her finger across her teeth with the appropriate noises. We still sing the special song every time we brush her teeth, and keep the routine constant, which, I believe, is how we were able to get our kid to enjoy brushing her teeth in the first place!
Christine Knight is an Australian expat and mother of one enthusiastic toddler. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, she is co-founder of brunchwithmybaby.com, a site dedicated to helping parents navigate the NYC and Sydney food scenes with their offspring.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.