How Do I Brush Baby Teeth?

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Keeping your baby’s mouth and teeth clean is just as important, if not more so, than giving him a regular bath. You’ll need to brush his teeth from the minute the first tooth appears. You should wipe his gums with gauze even before teeth start popping up. Babies can suffer from tooth decay caused by the sugar in milk and other foods. Like adults and older children, they have multitudes of bacteria in their mouths that can grow out of control if the mouth is not cleaned regularly.

Step 1

Wet a soft, child-sized toothbrush with water. Apply a streak or smear of toothpaste to the bristles. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says it is safe to use fluoride toothpaste, as long as you only use a tiny amount. If you are uncomfortable giving fluoride to your baby, use a non-fluoridated toothpaste.

Step 2

Hold your baby on your lap. Gently open his mouth. He may be fussy and difficult, but keep trying until you get the mouth open. Speak softly to him; be gentle.

Step 3

Place the bristles of the toothbrush against the tooth at a 45-degree angle from the gums. Brush back-and-forth across the outside of the teeth, then move to the underside of the teeth and move back-and-forth.

Step 4

Turn the brush so that it is vertical. Gently tuck it behind the baby’s teeth, and brush the inner side of the teeth, using up-and-down strokes.

Step 5

Wipe the gums with a cloth if your baby still has missing teeth. You don’t need toothpaste to clean the gums.

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