When you should start brushing your baby's teeth and how
The time comes at around six months – the first tooth starts to push through. Two to three years later, children smile with a complete primary dentition. Even though milk teeth fall out again early, they have to be brushed thoroughly. And not just because children need them for chewing and biting. They also need them to learn how to talk properly and as placeholders for the permanent teeth. Moreover, the risk of caries in the permanent teeth of children is higher if the milk teeth were already affected. But ironically, these teeth are particularly vulnerable to caries. This is because the enamel, the hardest substance in the human body, is significantly thinner in milk teeth. It is only around half as thick as the enamel of permanent teeth, causing it to be more susceptible to caries.
Proper brushing is important from the very first tooth and lays the foundations for healthy teeth for life. You can find out here how dental care is really easy from the very beginning.
The right dental care for babies – right from the very first tooth
Brushing teeth is not yet necessary in newborns. The time for you to start brushing your baby's teeth also depends on when they start to teethe. When the first teeth start to appear at around the age of six months, you can start some playful oral hygiene activities. It is best if you lay your baby down on the changing table to do this. Later on, you can sit your child on your lap.
In the beginning, toothbrushes shaped like a teething ring can be used. You can use these to gently massage the tooth sockets, which gives the little ones a very pleasant feeling. It also helps the baby to get used to a brush in their mouth.
If the first teeth have pushed through the jaw, there are various models of small toothbrushes for children or finger toothbrushes available in shops. The cleaning effect is not adequate enough with a finger toothbrush due to the "wider nubs". Therefore, we solely recommend using an age-appropriate children's toothbrush. Up to 24 months, you should especially select a toothbrush with a particularly small head, very soft bristles and a large handle. The brush should be easy for the parents to hold.
It is usually fairly easily to brush baby teeth. During the oral phase, the baby discovers everything with their mouth anyway. A toothbrush is very interesting here for the baby and offers a welcome change.
As soon as the first tooth appears, brush twice a day. Introduce your child as early as possible to the evening routine for example. They will then quickly get used to the fact that once their nappy and clothes are changed, their teeth will be brushed before a bedtime song or story.
For baby dental care, the right brushing technique is also important: e.g. the COI brushing technique. First the Chewing surfaces are brushed with brief forwards and backwards motions, then the Outside surfaces are brushed with small circular motions, followed finally by the Inside surfaces of the teeth from red to white.
What to do when your child does not want to brush their teeth?
From a certain age, children believe that they can do a lot of things themselves – and that includes brushing their teeth. It is important for you to brush your child's teeth again thoroughly until they have learnt to write. So what do we do?
- Make oral hygiene a game for your little resister. By singing a brushing song, they will open their mouth and you can make brushing fun. Of course, brushing stories or quick videos can also be helpful.
- First brush teddy's teeth or Mummy or Daddy's teeth.
- It is ok to let your child brush their own teeth first if they really want to.
- Sometimes it helps to use two toothbrushes. One brush for the child to use and another one that you use to brush their teeth again.
The main thing to remember is to remain relaxed. This is because children are very receptive, especially of non-verbal signals. This means that if you remain relaxed and tell your child with certain consistency that brushing teeth is part of the twice-a-day ritual, then brushing will also be more relaxed.
Which toothpaste should I use and how much?
Ingredients like the active ingredient fluoride are often added to children's toothpastes to protect the teeth from caries. Especially for children under the age of 6, the addition of fluoride to toothpaste, however, is a subject of much debate: This is because small children are not able to spit out properly and swallow most of the toothpaste. This causes too much fluoride to enter the body quickly. Just the swallowing of toothpaste can result in the consumption of the same amount of fluoride as in fluoridated salt or a fluoride tablet, which the paediatrician also prescribes in combination with vitamin D for healthy bone growth.
The problem: If children consume too much fluoride on a daily basis, the risk of fluorosis is increased. This can be seen as discolorations on the permanent dentition. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment from Germany explicitly recommends that babies and young children only use one type of fluoride prophylaxis: either vitamin D with fluoride or fluoride toothpaste.
Toothpastes with the active ingredient hydroxyapatite offer an effective alternative here. Hydroxyapatite – the substance from which our teeth are made – effectively protects against caries and is not hazardous to health when swallowed because it simply dissolves in the stomach. Kinder Karex toothpaste uses this alternative active ingredient and is suitable for all age groups.
How much toothpaste should I put on the children's toothbrush? In principle: Toothpaste should be used sparingly for children. Children should learn early on that toothpaste is a cleaning product and therefore as much of it should be spat out as possible.
How do I find a suitable children's toothbrush for my child?
Firstly, you should pay attention to the age stated on the brush so that you have the optimum one. The oral cavity and teeth of babies are ultimately much smaller than that of children. For babies, you should choose a correspondingly small brush head with soft bristles. Since you as the parent are brushing your baby's teeth in the first stage, the brush should also be easy for you to hold.
Once your child has all their milk teeth, there are children's toothbrushes with larger brush heads and handles suitable for children. At around 8 years of age, children can even start using adult toothbrushes.
However, one thing is always important: Toothbrushes have to be changed no later than every 6-8 weeks.