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How do I properly care for my baby’s teeth and when do I begin brushing?

Your baby’s first tooth is an exciting moment but it’s also another addition to the long list of responsibilities of being a mother.

Until you child is old enough to brush her teeth properly herself, you’ll have to do it for her.And like everything else when it comes to your baby, it’s vitally important you do it right. The main point to remember are as follows...

When to start cleaning
The simple answer to this is as soon as your baby’s first tooth appears. This usually happens at 5-7 months so keep your eyes peeled for that little pearly white. However, it’s best to get your baby used to having a tooth brush in her mouth before hand to avoid any problems when it's time to begin brushing.

Twice a day
Don’t think because your baby hasn’t got many teeth, you only need to brush them once a day. Even at this young age, brushing twice a day, morning and night, is essential to prevent decay.

Brush the right way
The correct way to brush teeth is up and down, not from side to side. The gums should be brushed in a circular motion, although perfect circles are not necessary. At all times you should remember that your baby’s teeth and gums are not as strong or robust as yours, so be gentle.

Remember to use children’s toothpaste
It is very important that you use special baby toothpaste when you clean your little one’s teeth. This is due to two factors: firstly the high levels of fluoride in normal toothpaste and secondly the presence of peppermint oil in many regular toothpastes. Although, fluoride generally strengthens teeth and helps prevent decay, too much fluoride can be unhealthy for a baby. This is why baby toothpaste has considerably less fluoride than regular varieties. In terms of peppermint oil, the vast majority of baby toothpastes do not contain this substance as it can cause a severe stomach upset if swallowed by a young child.

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