How to Brush A One Year Olds Teeth

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Would you like to know how to brush a one year olds teeth correctly and optimally?

Brushing toddler teeth can be daunting task. As a parent, the responsibility for your young child’s teeth and oral health is resting on you, so of course you want to do the best job of it that you possibly can.

In this brief article we’ll walk you through how to easily and confidently brush toddler teeth. Are you ready to learn more? Then keep on reading.

How to clean your baby’s teeth

The first thing you need to know about brushing your toddler’s teeth is when you should start brushing them. 

Some new parents are unsure of when it is appropriate to begin brushing their baby’s teeth, and others are reluctant to start brushing baby teeth until all of their little one’s teeth have fully erupted. 

The truth is that you should start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as his or her very first tooth makes its appearance.

Babies develop slightly differently, but as a rule of thumb you can expect your baby to start teething between five and seven months old. Until then, you will not have to worry about brushing your baby’s teeth, but after this crucial point, you will be in charge of brushing your child’s teeth for many years to come. 

Consult with a pediatric dentist when it is time to start brushing your toddler’s teeth

It is a good idea to take your baby to see a pediatric dentist sooner rather than later. Of course, there is no immediate need before the baby has any teeth or teething symptoms, but as soon as the first tooth appears, a pediatric dentist visit is in order.

Your child’s dentist will be able to set you off on the right path by giving you tailored advice regarding how to brush your toddler’s teeth as well as what toothbrush and toothpaste to use.

Use an infant toothbrush 

Never use an adult toothbrush to brush your young child’s teeth. 

Adult toothbrushes are much too large. Opt for an infant toothbrush instead. An ifant toothbrush is a finger brush made of soft rubber that is gentle on your toddler’s teeth and gums.

When it is time to switch from an infant toothbrush to a child toothbrush, choose one with soft bristles. Soft bristles are more gentle on the enamel while cleaning teeth just as effectively as more abrasive bristles.

Use the correct kind and amount of toothpaste

Your little one may not initially like the taste of toothpaste, but adding toothpaste to toothbrushing right away is important. You should always use a fluoride toothpaste when brushing either your own or your toddler’s teeth, as fluoride helps to remineralise teeth and fight plaque in a way that no other toothpaste can.

Only use a sparing amount of toothpaste when brushing your toddler’s teeth. For younger toddlers up to three years of age, a tiny smear of toothpaste is sufficient. For children aged 3 to 6 years old, a slither larger, pea-sized amount of toothpaste is appropriate.

Hold your toddler in your lap or in front of you

One of the challenges of brushing teeth on toddlers is being able to see what you are doing. Toddlers have a tendency to writhe and wiggle, so it helps if you are holding your toddler either standing in front of you with their head tilted slightly backwards, or sitting in your lap, again with their head tilted up. Having your toddler in front of you gives you a clear view of his or her mouth while you are doing the brushing.

The ideal place to brush toddler teeth is standing or sitting in front of the bathroom sink, so that you can encourage your little one to spit out any excess toothpaste foam in-between bouts of brushing. 

Use the right toothbrushing technique for baby teeth

Brush your toddler’s teeth by moving your finger with the toddler brush in gentle, circular motions. Apply gentle pressure – enough to clean the teeth, but never so much that it feels unpleasant for your child. 

Take your time to brush every surface of all of your toddler’s teeth. Don’t rush, particularly not if you are new to brushing teeth on your little one. It is important that you remain calm and composed so that you don’t end up stressing both yourself and your toddler out. One of the reasons why many children don’t like brushing their teeth is because they associate it with stressful feelings, so make it a calm and pleasant experience whenever possible. 

Start teaching your toddler about oral hygiene early on

Very young children are incapable of learning anything about oral hygiene, but as soon as your little one is conscious enough to start understanding, it is time to start instilling positive and healthy habits around oral health and hygiene.

When your toddler begs for candy or sugary drinks, don’t just say no, but explain why you sometimes have to say no. Start gently making your toddler aware of what foods and drinks are healthy and which ones aren’t. Explain that eating too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, and that tooth decay can be painful. 

You cannot expect your toddler to make healthy choices on his or her own accord, but you can start laying the foundation for making healthier decisions when your child is a little older. 

Teaching your child about good oral hygiene may not have much of an effect in the short term, but being able to clearly distinguish between what is and isn’t healthy could pay dividends throughout your child’s life.

Demonstrate by brushing your own teeth 

Children learn best by observing and mimicking adults’ actions and behaviour. Use this to your advantage by letting your toddler watch you brushing your teeth. 

Young children are usually very interested in what their parents are doing, and try their best to mimic their parents. This is why you need to be mindful of what kind of example you are setting for your children, even from a very young age.

Letting your little one watch you brushing your teeth encourages him or her to want to brush. their own teeth. By setting a great example, you can make healthy habits like toothbrushing look both fun and important. 

Make it relaxing and fun

There is so much you can do to make the daily toothbrushing routine fun and pleasant for your child. You can, for example, come up with a special tooth brushing song to help your child relax and enjoy getting his or her teeth brushed. If you are clever, you could even make the song about the importance of toothbrushing. 

Something else you can do to encourage your child to not resist toothbrushing is dangle a goodnight story as a reward. If your child knows that you are going to read his or her favorite story only after the nightly tooth brushing routine has been completed, he or she is likely to go along with it without any resistance. 

If you are going to make the nightly bedtime story a reward for toothbrushing, it is important that you don’t make any exceptions to the rule. No matter what the occasion, always read your child’d bedtime story only after toothbrushing has been completed. Children are generally much smarter than adults give them credit for. If your toddler notices inconsistencies in your parenting techniques, you can be sure that he or she will start pushing the boundaries. In other words, make toothbrushing un-negotiable step on the way to your toddler’s favorite bedtime story. 

Conclusion: This is how to brush your one year old toddler’s teeth

If you have read this article all the way through, you already know the definitive answer to the question of when and how you should brush your one year old’s teeth.

It all boils down to using the proper technique and implements, as well as making the experience pleasant and enriching for your child. If you can make your child look forward to toothbrushing, or at least not resist and fight against it, you will have done amazingly as a parent.

Frequently asked questions

Should I brush my 1 year old’s teeth?

Yes, you absolutely should. In fact, you should start brushing your baby’s teeth long before his or her first birthday.

Babies develop differently, so not all babies are going to start teething at the same age. That being said, most babies start getting their first teeth when they are 5-7 months old. As soon as the very first tooth pokes through your baby’s gums, it is time to start brushing.

When you first start brushing baby teeth, you don’t need to be as thorough as you will have to be later on. Initially, there will only be one or a few teeth to brush, and the toothbrushing itself will be as much about getting your baby used to toothbrushing as it will be about actually cleaning the tooth or teeth.

Can 1 year old have toothpaste?

Yes, a 1 year old both could and should have toothpaste.

Fluoride toothpaste is vitally important for oral hygiene, as it both strengthens the teeth enamel and fights plaque. 

Some are reluctant to use fluoride toothpaste when brushing toddler teeth, but they are doing their little ones a disservice by leaving their teeth more vulnerable to decay.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.