The Right Way to Cleanse Your Baby’s Gums and Emerging Teeth

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A little creative thinking may help to make your reluctant tots have a ball while they learn the trick to get healthy teeth and gums. Instead of making brushing just another tiresome routine, you could add cheer by adding music to the routine.

Turn on any music that lasts at least two minutes and tell your baby that this is a game like ‘passing the parcel’ and he/she can stop brushing only after the music stops. Another fun way to jazz up brushing time would be by keeping time with the help of the tiny sand-filled ‘minute’ glasses that accompany most boardgames! Here is the right way to cleanse your baby’s gums and emerging teeth.

0-6 months

Parents should regularly clean the baby’s mouth every night, starting at birth so that it keeps the baby’s mouth clean and also helps the baby to accept the brush.

Steps to clean: 

  • Keep a piece of clean cloth, a piece of gauze and a glass of boiled drinking water ready.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap. 
  • Wrap the gauze or cloth around your finger and wet it with water.
  • Gently put your finger inside your baby’s mouth and wipe the upper gums and then the lower ones thoroughly. As feeding frequency is high during these months, it’s a good idea to wipe the gum pads after every feed.
  • The tongue should also be wiped gently in the same way.

6-12 months

When the first tooth appears, parents should wipe the tooth and gums twice a day. Once the incisors erupt, you can start brushing the child’s teeth with a finger brush or an infant brush. Toothbrush trainer sets are also available in the market, which can gradually train a child to accept the toothbrush. Do not use toothpaste at this stage. A damp toothbrush is sufficient.

12-24 months

When the first molars erupt, parents must start brushing their child’s teeth twice, once in the morning and once at night, just before bed. For children under the age of two years, parents can use a toothbrush with soft bristle and the length of the toothbrush head should not exceed two cm to ensure that it reaches all the corners. Use a non-fluoridated toothpaste at this stage as your child may not know how to spit yet. Use a nominal amount of toothpaste that is barely visible on the brush.

2 years and up

By now, most of the teeth usually erupt. It is important to make brushing twice a day a regular habit. By three years, the parent can let the child use a toothbrush on his own but the process would be complete only after the parent has re-brushed the child’s teeth after letting him try. A low fluoride, children’s toothpaste can be used. If the child has learnt to spit, then a pea-sized amount of toothpaste should be used. Flossing can be carried out by the parent from the age of three. By five years, the child can use a junior medium-bristled toothbrush ensuring that the head size is not as large as an adult toothbrush.