When Should I Start Brushing My Baby’s Teeth?

mother brushing infant teeth

A lot of parents ask this question because they’re not sure if they should start early.

A common concern is that brushing milk teeth won’t make a difference since these teeth fall out eventually, anyway. But as you’ll see, there’s still a point to brushing your baby’s first teeth.

We’ll explain everything you need to know about your little one’s dental development and care here.

The Basics of Your Baby’s Dental Growth

happy baby sitting

We’ll start by going over the way a baby’s teeth grow.

Here’s something few people know: your baby’s teeth are typically already developing by the time you hit a baby shop in Singapore for those last nursery essentials before the due date.

That’s because babies’ teeth start growing while they’re still in the womb. You just won’t see those teeth when they’re born because they’re still hidden by the gums.

But the fact is, they’re already there - about 20 of them, in fact!

So when do they show up? Here’s where things get wildly variable. For some babies, the first tooth shows up as early as 3 months from birth. For others, it takes a full year!

But usually, you should see all 20 of those milk teeth by the time your little one hits 3 years of age. From there, it may take around 3 more years before they start getting replaced by permanent teeth.

When to Start Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth

happy smiling baby showing baby teeth

You can start brushing your baby’s teeth the moment the first tooth appears.

The teeth may appear in any order, but for most babies, the first tooth is typically one of the centre ones in the bottom set.

Either way, the moment that peeks out, you should start brushing - for several reasons.

First, it’s wise to do this now because milk teeth are still susceptible to tooth decay. If a milk tooth is sufficiently decayed to fall out, that can cause problems for the permanent tooth supposed to succeed it.

The milk tooth is meant to hold the place before the permanent tooth arrives, after all. If it’s not there, it can result in the other teeth being disarranged due to the gap.

When the permanent tooth finally arrives to replace the missing tooth, then, it may have to squeeze into a smaller space than intended. This can lead to crooked teeth in the long run.

Moreover, you should bear in mind that not all milk teeth get replacements. There are times when a person’s “permanent teeth” never come - in which case the milk teeth are supposed to be the permanent ones.

Hence, you don’t want to take chances on your baby’s first teeth falling out due to poor hygiene.

Finally, it pays to get children accustomed to good dental hygiene. The sooner you start, the more seriously they take it later on, when it becomes their task instead of yours.

How to Brush Your Baby’s Teeth

infant toothbrush

It’s fairly simple to brush a baby’s teeth.

There are obvious caveats to it, such as the fact that you shouldn’t do it while he’s in an infant car seat!

Well, you technically can if the vehicle isn’t moving and he’s comfortable, but there are far easier ways of doing it.

Usually, you want your baby to be lying down so you can see into his mouth easier.

That’s why it’s usually advised to do it at home. Some parents even prepare for this by setting up nurseries with tooth-brushing stations or gear like support pillows for the baby’s head.

Fortunately, setting up a nursery in Singapore for such purposes is easier than ever before. There are myriad products hitting our shores now that you can use to do this.

Simply ask for advice from your preferred nursery furniture or baby paraphernalia store. We ourselves get a lot of clients asking about such things and guide them through their options, in fact.

In any case, the easiest way to do it might be just to sit cross-legged on the floor - you can use a floor mat for support - and lay your baby on it with his head resting on your lap.

Use an infant toothbrush or a damp gauze pad to rub his gums and teeth in a gentle, circular motion. You can also use a finger toothbrush.

For ideas on which gear and toothpaste to use - and how much - consult with your paediatrician. They can tell you which items are suitable for a baby’s tender gums.

Need More Advice on Preparing for Your Baby?

baby getting his teeth brushed

That should have helped you figure out your little one’s oral hygiene! Do you need more help setting up everything he needs or getting ready for him before he arrives, though?