Dr Janja Pavšič Jurca: “Many parents ask me when to start oral hygiene in young children and whether milk teeth are really that important? The answer is – very early! It is advisable to clean a baby’s mouth long before the first milk teeth appear (before 6 months of age). This involves cleaning the gums with a damp, soft cotton cloth after breastfeeding or feeding with a bottle.
When the first milk teeth (usually the lower first incisors) appear, it is advisable to brush the teeth at least twice a day (in the evening and in the morning) with a very soft toothbrush designed for a baby’s mouth. Use children’s toothpastes with a very low concentration of fluoride. These are recommended only once the child is over 12 months old or already able to rinse his or her mouth.
In babies, be careful when it comes to sugary or carbonated beverages, especially in bottles with “teats”. It is preferable to offer unsweetened tea or water to a child.
A critical time arrives around the age of 6, when most parents await the growth of the first permanent teeth. Parents usually mistakenly think the first permanent teeth to emerge are the incisors, whereas it is actually the molars. If parents are unaware of this and do not ensure satisfactory oral hygiene, these first permanent teeth, which are so important for chewing food throughout a person’s life, will decay very quickly.
Finally, regular visits to the dentist, avoiding excessive consumption of sugary drinks and food, careful brushing of teeth and mouth, and parents’ involvement in brushing milk and permanent teeth at least until the child is 10 years old, will spare your child any unpleasant treatment in the dentist’s chair.
Instead, children will leave with a smile on their face and pictures stamped on their hand as a reward.”