Monday, July 5, 2010

Brushing Teeth

Babies can begin teething at 3 months old; however it is more common for babies to begin teething around 6 to 7 months old. The first teeth that will appear are usually the lower incisors or front teeth. By the age of 3, children should have their complete set of 20 "pearly whites." It is never too early to begin a regular brushing routine with your child.

As the teeth grow, use a toothbrush that is designed for your child's age, as indicated on the package. Avoid using toothpaste that contains fluoride until your child is old enough to understand that swallowing the toothpaste should be avoided.

Use the correct brushing and flossing method, when caring for your child's teeth. Most children like to show their independence by doing tasks, such as brushing their teeth, on their own. Allow your kids brush their teeth themselves, either before or after you have completely removed all of the plaque. You should, however, brush your child's teeth twice a day until he is able to brush his own teeth correctly, around the age of six. When you are confident your child is capable of brushing alone, buy an egg timer or use a stop watch and time your child's brushing for the recommended two minutes. When complete, always do a final inspection. Remember to applaud your child on a job well done, and if you do notice any teeth that have been missed, visually show your child the area and demonstrate how he should remove the plaque or food.

I personally find the complete set very useful... it is a product of Summer Infant and it is one of those paisa vasool items I bought for Sreya.. the finger brush and its buds are useful pre-toothing stage.. 3 months age and upwards with very soft bristles and help in bite gum stimulation... the top most one in the picture is the gum stimulator which the kid uses to bite on to satisfy that teething urge and can used up to about a year or so until the pearly whites pop up... Sreya cut her first tooth when she was close to a year and now has 4, so I used the second one up to a year and even now.. in fact, I let her pick up whatever brush she wants to and go about brushing or do brushing acting.. the finger brush, however, is dangerous to mom's fingers after the teeth eruption ;)...

Right now, we have graduated to the third brush, where I just give it to her after washing and she munches on it happily, I just clean her tongue also with the brush as the bristles are really soft...

Coming to the toothpaste.. Orajel is one brand which caters to non-fluoride age group.. am doing a little bit research on it, so more on it once I gather it... Since I can manage to get Orajel through friends and relatives, it is manageable as of now but I want to search on what is available in Indian market for that tricky age group..

Need For Brushing:
1.  Wide spread misconceptions are that you need to clean the teeth only after they pop out, nope gum and mouth cleaning and gum stimulation is very much vital to how the teeth will erupt in the long run, so care starts right as a newborn, so keep working at it...
2.  Milk teeth do not have to taken care of well, they are eventually going to fall out anyways... nope, they are the foundation for the actual teeth, so the care is as much vital as the others...

**As a newborn, after 3 months, clean the gums with a very soft cloth and warm water both clean and sterile.
**As an infant, the finger brush.
**In infant to toddler transition, either a brush or a stimulator.
**Toddler, tooth brush along with paste (non-fluoride).

Selecting a Tooth Paste
- Fluoride :
. Below 4 years of age – do not use fluoridated toothpaste as till this age, the child ingests part of the toothpaste.
. Between 4 to 14 years of age – fluoride is required in toothpaste as at this age the teeth enamel is permeable and therefore benefits from the fluoride.
. Above 14 years of age – fluoridated toothpaste is not required as the teeth enamel is no longer permeable and therefore the fluoride is not used. Excess fluoride may lead to fluorosis.
- Attractive color (if possible).
- Should produce foam.
- Change the toothpaste every time you buy a new pack as frequent use of the same formulation makes the bacteria present in the teeth resistant to that toothpaste. (This applies to you too).
- Do not use only gel based toothpaste for your child as gels serve more as mouthwash rather than for cleaning teeth. Keep changing the type of toothpaste the child uses.

So, you can ask for toothpaste for child, many are available, including Oral-B, Podflor, Kidzee etc.
But always remember ... It is the brushing action which is more important than the toothpaste used. For the child to have healthy teeth it is important to make him aware of the importance of good dental hygiene right from early age – Brushing twice a day, regular visits to the dentist, sensible eating and no neglect of caries even of milk teeth.
Do not feed the kid anything other than water before the bedtime... even if you have to feed them milk in sleep make sure they drink a little bit of water to wash down the liquid thoroughly from the mouth as the bacteria will work full force during nighttime.

Brushing and oral hygiene is very much vital in childcare.. we take utmost care as to what goes into her tummy, food wise, so it has be an extra-cautious attempt to see to it that entry to the stomach is clean as well ;).


  1. Nice informative piece of article, explained detaily. Very good.
    My daughter is turning one this month but has no sign of her teeths :(

  2. Proper brushing removes plaque from the inner, outer and chewing surfaces. Thankyou so much for sharing a helpful information with us...

    Pediatric Dentist in Mumbai

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  4. Very informative. Dental healthcare is one of the most expensive treatments. This is the precise reason there is an increase in dental medical tourism specially in India. I came across this video of where a patient from Australia shares his experience at Dentzz.