Brushing the baby's teeth
Our teeth have a special place in our life. We use them several times a day to chop up what we eat in the mouth and prepare it for digestion in the stomach. So that this can work with our own teeth for as long as possible and without complications, pain or dentures, we have to care for our teeth at least twice a day.
This care affects not only adults and children, but starts from the moment the baby's first milk tooth is visible.
The teeth of babies and children are very susceptible to tooth decay and bacteria due to their structure (softer and thinner tooth enamel). Therefore, you must pay particular attention to early and thorough oral hygiene.
The milk teeth serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth that subsequently erupt. If the milk teeth have to be removed early, the permanent teeth may be misaligned due to a lack of space. To avoid this, the first visit to the dentist should take place between the sixth and eighth month of life.
The doctor can get an overview of the existing tooth and jaw conditions and the children get to know the consulting and treatment room at the same time without having any bad experiences.
Also read: Baby's First Toothbrush - You Must Know That!
When should you start brushing your teeth?
Brushing your teeth must be done as early as possible to avoid any damage to the milk teeth.
On average, the first milk teeth erupt in a baby around 6 months of age. As soon as you discover a broken milk tooth in your child, the time has come to take care of the dental care of your protégé. Tooth enamel is still relatively thin at this age and therefore more prone to tooth decay.
Learn more about: Teething in babies
Therefore should immediately after the first tooth erupts thorough cleaning can be started.
Even babies and toddlers take in various types of sugar at the beginning of their lives, which lead to tooth decay. These are in various Children's juice spritzers or in Baby food.
Also the Breast milk contains sugar in the form of milk sugar.
So as you can see, poses almost every food intake poses a small risk to the young teeth, even at this age.
The assumption by some that brushing milk teeth is less important because they fail anyway is fundamentally wrong.
Another reason for starting oral hygiene early is that children get used to brushing as early as infancy and it is easier to motivate the children to brush their teeth later. It is part of the morning / evening routine, so to speak.
Some experts also recommend preparing babies to brush their teeth. A damp cloth / finger cot is stroked over the upper and lower jaw. This is to encourage the baby's willingness to brush his teeth after the first tooth has erupted.
Read more on the topic: Tooth decay in young children
How do you brush your baby's teeth?
Brushing the teeth of babies is still the responsibility of their parents between the ages of 0 and 1.5 years. At this stage of development, the baby often does not yet have the motor skills to hold a toothbrush and perform the appropriate movements.
The first question that parents often ask themselves is which toothbrush is right for a baby and which toothpaste should be used. Experts recommend a special baby toothbrush here. You can buy these regularly in most drugstores. Baby toothbrushes have one small brush head, which is particularly suitable for the small oral cavity of babies. These toothbrushes also feature softer bristles to protect the still young oral mucosa. Of the Handle This toothbrush is also specially designed for children's hands so that the children can grip and guide the toothbrush better as soon as they can brush their teeth themselves.
Here you can find information about the suitable Toothbrush for babies
In general, your own teeth should be brushed at least twice a day. Up to the age of two, this should be done once with a special baby toothpaste. As a rule, it contains fluoride (fluoride content: max. 550ppm). Particular attention should be paid to the fluoride content if the baby is not taking fluoride tablets. Fluoride tablets are important, for example, to prevent permanent, stained discoloration on the teeth and of course to protect against tooth decay.
During the cleaning process, the children can either use the Lying changing table or later on the Sitting on your lap. If you brush with toothpaste, make sure that you use the toothpaste (about a pea-sized amount) press something into the bristles. This prevents immediate licking and swallowing of the mostly pleasant-tasting toothpaste.
Important: swallowing the toothpaste is not a problem, as baby toothpaste is by law no potentially harmful substances may contain and the Very low fluoride content and is therefore harmless.
Of course, there are no precise instructions for brushing a baby's teeth. However, it should be ensured that you start with the chewing surfaces first, then continue with the outer surfaces and finally clean the inner surfaces (KAI scheme).
It is known that this is usually difficult for babies, as babies neither like to brush their teeth, sit / lie still, nor keep their mouth open for long periods of time. Tricks and other methods used by parents on how to distract the baby so that they can brush their teeth are asked. The duration of the cleaning process is less important. The main thing is to brush your teeth at least twice a day.
In addition, the sensitive gums can be massaged using the smooth side of a finger cot.
Finally, the baby's mouth is rinsed out with water to completely remove any toothpaste residue.
How often should it be cleaned?
It is advisable to start brushing your teeth as soon as the first tooth can be seen. This means that you should brush with a fluoride-containing toothpaste at least twice a day. Most often this is done by parents in the morning and evening.
As soon as there are regular meals, brushing your teeth after meals can also be introduced. However, this affects more young children to adults and less babies who eat / drink several times a day. Brushing your teeth too often can also be harmful.
Also read: Dental care for children
How long should you brush your baby's teeth?
The length of time you brush depends on the number of teeth you have. At the same time, it depends on the baby's willingness to brush his teeth.
Therefore, no precise information on the duration can be given. Basically, you should take enough time to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums from all sides.
It is important that the parents brush their teeth at all. One often reads that one should brush each tooth for about 10 seconds. However, this is difficult to do with small babies, as they will rarely hold still for 10 seconds per tooth with their mouth open. In the beginning, brushing your teeth will be very quick as there are only a few teeth to brush. In the process, when all teeth have gradually erupted, the cleaning time increases.
Which toothpaste should be used?
There are several toothpastes on the market that are suitable for babies. Ultimately, you can buy these in the usual drugstores.
When choosing a toothpaste, a careful distinction should be made between a baby toothpaste and a junior toothpaste.
From the beginning of the eruption of the first milk tooth to the formation of the permanent teeth (approx. From the age of six) should be cleaned with a specific baby or children's toothpaste. These are characterized by a reduced fluoride content (no more than 550ppm fluoride) and a sweet taste.
Junior toothpastes can be used from the eruption of the permanent teeth. They have the same fluoride content as in adults, but have a milder taste.
Toothpaste containing fluoride
Toothpastes with fluorine or fluoride are generally recommended. The German Society for Dental, Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine (DGZMK) recommends a fluoride toothpaste with a maximum of 500 ppm fluoride for babies and toddlers.
The amount of fluoride content is usually on the back of the tube. A higher fluoride content should only be used when brushing teeth from the age of around six. Toothpastes containing fluoride strengthen the tooth enamel and thus help prevent tooth decay.
Read more at: Toothpaste without fluoride
Toothpastes without fluoride
Nowadays you can hardly find toothpastes that do not contain any fluorine or fluoride. Nevertheless, there are some products on the market that do not use this tooth decay preventive agent. Natural enzymes and proteins should ensure a healthy oral environment and reduce harmful bacteria. Nevertheless, the positive effect of toothpastes containing fluoride has proven itself in many dental studies.
Read more on the topic: Fluoridation of teeth
Brushing your teeth with a finger cot
In addition to special toothbrushes, the baby's teeth can be cleaned with the help of a finger cot.
This usually consists of two pages.
One side is smooth and is used to massage the sensitive, child's gums.
The back of the finger cot is soft and is used to clean the teeth. Some manufacturers run silver threads through their products that kill bacteria and ensure a healthy oral environment. Before using the finger cots for the first time, rinse them thoroughly under warm running water. After use, they are completely dried in a clean place. After approx. 4 - 6 weeks the finger cot should be replaced regularly.
What if the baby swallows the toothpaste?
Because it is difficult to tell babies to rinse their mouths, baby toothpastes have been designed so that babies can swallow the toothpaste. The fluoride content is so low that it shouldn't harm the babies according to the manufacturers.
Furthermore, baby toothpastes must not contain any substances that are potentially harmful to health.
Small children are not yet able to properly spit out the foam. So it can happen from time to time that you swallow some toothpaste.
However, this is harmless as long as it is a small amount.
To prevent babies from swallowing too much toothpaste, parents should only use a small amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste to brush their teeth up to the age of two (a maximum of a pea-sized blob and a concentration of 550ppm).
Excessive intake of fluoride (from food or toothpaste) can lead to unsightly, white enamel spots on permanent teeth.
Swallowing shouldn't be too much of a concern for parents. Ultimately, when brushing babies' teeth, most of it comes out of their mouths anyway.
What difficulties / problems are there?
Parents who try to brush their babies' teeth for the first time can face several difficulties and problems. Experience shows that children do not like doing it and babies even less. It is the unknown situation that is perceived as rather unpleasant and annoying. Most babies don't like staying still for a long time and keeping their mouth open for a long time. Thus, the act of brushing your teeth becomes at least twice a day Endurance test for parents and baby. The babies usually turn their heads away, start to cry and or chewing on the toothbrushso that cleaning is almost impossible.
It is therefore important that parents try out different tricks individually for their baby to relax or distract the child so that they can brush their teeth.
How can songs help?
There are various tips and tricks to avoid problems with brushing teeth and to distract babies from the annoying, unknown object of the toothbrush while brushing their teeth. Playing so-called "tooth-cleaning songs" is particularly popular.
Much more often, however, the parents choose one of the countless songs on the Internet and sing the song to the child / baby themselves while brushing their teeth. This kind of distraction leads to the fact that the concentration of the protégés fixes on the singing and so in the best case less protests against brushing their teeth.
In addition, playing or singing toothbrushing songs can be very fun, especially for older children (texts usually rhyme or have funny content). This way the child can be introduced to brushing their teeth in a playful way. The idea behind it is - Brushing your teeth should be fun!
However, it does not always have to be toothbrushing songs that are played or sung to the children / babies. Sometimes simply putting on the child's / baby's favorite music helps. However, the younger the children are, the more difficult it is to find suitable music. This means that you have to try out which song makes the child / baby particularly calm or distracted.
What other tricks can you use?
In addition to the above-mentioned tricks with music, there are also other helpful tips that can be used to encourage children to brush their teeth or to make it easier for babies to brush their teeth. However, it is usually particularly important to introduce babies / children to brushing their teeth in a playful way.
For babies, it is a good idea to work with silicone thimbles instead of toothbrushes. These are put over a finger and have toothbrush-like bristles on the ends. This is a particularly good way of introducing babies to brushing their teeth.
Another option, especially for the elderly, is to choose a toothbrush independently.
Sometimes it also helps to read stories to the children (e.g. from "Karius and Baktus" or the "Tooth Indian"). These take away the children's fear of brushing their teeth and teach them the consequences of not brushing.
Other tips include using tasty toothpaste, brightly colored toothbrushes, a toothbrush clock or a toothbrushing app.