Oral hygiene for children
By Jack N' Jill
Jack N' Jill have developed a natural toothpaste for babies, toddlers and children that is safe to swallow. As experts in oral hygiene for children, PBC Expo spoke with them to get insight into how to look after your children's mouth from newborn and beyond...
You can begin to care for your baby’s gums and teeth as early as a few months old. You can start with Flouride Free Natural Tooth and Gum Wipes. They create a healthy environment for emerging teeth and gently clean your baby’s gums. After your baby has breastfed or had a bottle, gently clean their gums with a wipe. They also assist in establishing a great dental health routine from early on.
6 months old
Once your baby reaches around 6 months you can start to gently clean with a silicone finger brush and some water. Silicone is great during times of teething as a regular brush can hurt the young gums and baby develops an aversion to having their teeth brushed. The silicone finger brush can also be popped in the freezer and provides great, gentle relief when bub starts teething. All silicone brushes can be sterilized in boiling water.
Your baby’s first tooth will appear at around 6 months to one year, however all children are different and develop at different ages. Your babies first toothbrush should have silicone or soft gentle nylon bristles.
12 months old
At around 12 months old you can use fluoride free, natural toothpaste. It is important that the toothpaste is safe to swallow as a baby does not spit out. Gently brush morning and night to establish a good dental care routine. A brush with nylon bristles is important to include in the daily routine once baby has side teeth. These teeth can come through with naturally deep crevices and nylon bristles will help ensure food and bacteria is cleaned away.
Just pop a pea sized amount of toothpaste on the brush and move around the teeth and gums in gentle circular motions working from back to front on all surfaces of the teeth. It is easier when your baby is laid down on the bed and you can play ‘entertainer’ too - to keep them amused and distracted. Be extra gentle if baby is teething.
It is normal for your baby to not want you to brush their teeth for them – and they can make it very difficult at times. If your baby dislikes teeth cleaning try giving them their own brush to hold or encourage taking turns, this way they feel more in control.
As they get older they will probably want to do it themselves. A brush with a mouth guard is great at this stage to help clean all surfaces of the teeth with each brush. Children need an adult to assist in brushing their teeth up to around 7 years old to ensure they are cleaning correctly.
You can start to floss when your child’s teeth have started to touch each other.
Start taking your baby along to dental appointments as soon as you can so they get used to the different sights and smells and the surroundings are familiar to them. Never use the threat of a dentist visit as a reason to brush your baby’s teeth. This encourages them to become fearful of the dentist.
Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.