10 tips for caring for your child’s first teeth

What you need to know about brushing your little one's new teeth

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If your baby’s first tooth has made an appearance, it’s time to break out the brush and get into a regular brushing
routine. Here’s how to do it…

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1. How to tell if your baby’s teething

Read our checklist to see the signs that your baby is teething. When he is around six months old, keep an eye out for red cheeks and drooling – these can be clues he’s starting teething. He may also be grizzly and chewing his fingers, but if you think he is unwell, speak to your GP.

2. When to start brushing their teeth

Once that first tooth arrives – usually a lower front one, it’s important to start a brushing routine to keep the whole mouth healthy. Your baby’s tooth enamel is thinner than yours, making it more susceptible to bacteria and decay. Milk contains sugar, so you need to clean his teeth regularly.

3. How to buy the right toothbrush

Invest in a small-headed toothbrush with soft bristles, and just a small smear of children’s toothpaste will be enough.

4. Brush the gums, too

Within two and a half years, your little one could have a full set of milk teeth, and while brushing the teeth is important, so is keeping the gums clean (especially between the teeth). They’ll be sore while teething, so your baby may need cuddles while brushing.

5. Make teeth cleaning a regular routine

You can help your baby to get used to his brushing routine by doing it at the same time morning and night.

6. Make teeth cleaning a game

A tickle, a song or a game of ‘roaring like a lion’ can work wonders when trying to get your baby to open his mouth for brushing. If he’s having fun, it will seem less scary.

7. Visit the dentist

Take your baby with you to the dentist so he’ll be used to it by the time his first tooth comes. When it does, take him for his own check up.

8. Calm & soothe

Unfortunately, teething can be uncomfortable, but infant paracetamol can help ease any tenderness (check with your GP first). Cold teething rings or food such as carrot sticks fresh from the fridge can provide some relief too.

9. Drool proof

Dribbling can mean sore skin and damp clothes, so use a barrier cream on his chin, cheeks and chest, and remember to pack fresh bibs and tops.

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10. Solid stuff

As your baby starts weaning and moves onto solids, pick foods low in sugar and salt, and when brushing make sure there’s no food left, to help prevent tooth decay.

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