Research says your child needs to have a first dental checkup by their first birthday. Getting them used to doing their part in a dental hygiene routine of their own can even start before they have their own first set of teeth. Gently cleaning his gums with a baby toothbrush and some water can introduce him to the way brushing feels. If you’re not comfortable with a toothbrush, massaging his gums with a wet washcloth is a good first step in showing him what’s to come.
When those baby teeth first appear, you can start brushing for real with a baby toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste.
Flossing can start sooner than you might think when at least two of his teeth sit beside each other but it’s best to check with the professionals on the schedules and techniques that are best suited to you and your toddler.
Those same experts can suggest when it’s best to start using mouthwash but of course he needs to be old enough to know how to spit it out.
Sugary liquids need to be avoided and if you put your child down with a bottle of milk, formula or juice, you run the risk of encouraging bacteria growth that hastens tooth decay and can result in what’s been termed Baby Bottle Decay. That goes for overusing the Sippy Cup too. While these are great tools to help her make the transition from a bottle to a glass, using one of these too often can lead to decay in the backs of the front teeth if the drinks inside contain too much of the sweet stuff.