How Do I Clean My Baby’s Teeth?
As soon as your baby's first teeth start to appear, dentists recommend cleaning them using a toothpaste that is suitable for infants. Use just a smear of paste or gel on a soft baby's toothbrush
and brush the teeth twice a day.
When Should My Child Use Fluoride Toothpaste?
In February 2014, the American Dental Association changed its recommendations for children's toothpaste. Previously, the ADA had recommended using fluoride toothpaste only from the age of two. However, the new guidelines recommend starting to use fluoride toothpaste as soon as a child's first tooth appears.
Fluoride vs. Non-Fluoride Toothpaste
Using fluoride toothpaste reduces the risk of cavities. However, some parents prefer to use non-fluoride toothpaste for very young children, due to the risk of the infant swallowing the paste. Fluoride can cause tooth discoloration if it is swallowed in large quantities at a young age. To minimize the risk, the ADA recommends using only a tiny amount of toothpaste - a smear no bigger than a grain of rice - to brush the teeth of children under the age of three.
Some parents might feel more comfortable using non-fluoride children's toothpastes, particularly if the child is already ingesting fluoride through drinking water. Both fluoride and non-fluoride toothpastes are available for cleaning the teeth of young kids. Your dentist can give you advice about the kind of toothpaste that would be best for your child.
How Can I Get My Child to Brush His Teeth?
Toddlers can be incredibly fussy, as any parent will know. Fortunately, there is a wide range of toothpaste flavors and textures, so that even the fussiest toddler can find something that they do not mind using.
If your child hates the usual mint flavor toothpaste and refuses to brush with it, then a fruity or bubblegum flavor might prove more tempting. As a parent, you might consider encouraging your child to brush their teeth twice a day. You may need to brush for your child until they are able to manipulate the toothbrush on their own. Make sure you teach proper brushing technique, so that your child moves the brush around each section of the mouth, cleaning each tooth surface in turn.
Natural Toothpaste for Children
Some parents feel more comfortable using a toothpaste that contains natural ingredients. You can choose a toothpaste that is free from artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, if that fits your values and lifestyle. Some parents might also prefer to choose a non-foaming toothpaste that does not contain sodium laurel sulfate, as a small percentage of people are sensitive to this common toothpaste ingredient.
Whatever type of toothpaste you choose, dentists recommend that your child brush at least twice a day. The ADA recommends that children aged between three and six years old use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
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