Having a wife in dental school means our family is especially concerned with our baby’s oral hygiene.
Even though our ten-day old baby will not have teeth for months, we want to make sure that she develops healthy habits. If we get her used to brushing her teeth at a young age she will be more likely to continue to brush her own teeth as she gets older.
To make sure we got her on the right track towards healthy teeth and gums, I wanted to know the answer to the question: when should I brush my baby’s teeth?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry — the primary organization representing pediatric dentists in the country — hosts a frequently asked questions page about baby dental care. The AAPD recommends:
“Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water.”
The AAPD also has an additional information page with details about why starting to brush your babies’ teeth as soon as possible is important.
The New York Times published a health article about the severe dental problems that occur in infants as young as 18 months.
The American Dental Association has additional details about tooth decay in babies and also recommends starting to brush babies’ teeth as soon as possible after birth with water and a soft toothbrush or cloth.
Thus it is never too early to brush baby’s teeth. Even before they have teeth parents can gently brush newborn gums. A soft cloth can also be used to massage baby gums if a baby toothbrush is too rough.
We have finally gotten around to brushing our baby’s teeth for the first time. Our daughter actually enjoyed the experience once we found a good way to brush her teeth and we feel we should have started even earlier. In hindsight, using a soft cloth and water as early as the hospital room following her birth might have made her more acclimated to the experience of having something pressed lightly against her gums.