Your kid should start brushing her own teeth as soon as she’s willing to try. You can clean them with a wet cloth or gauze until it’s time for a tooth brush. Using plain water, gently brush the teeth on both the outside and inside surfaces twice a day.
If your child fusses when it’s time to brush, it might help to buy her a toothbrush with a special cartoon character on it.
Liz Birka White, a mother of three in Diablo, California, says this worked well for all her children. “My firstborn really hated brushing until I bought him an Elmo toothbrush. From that day on, he couldn’t get enough. It was just the ticket I needed to interest him in brushing.”
You can also let your child have several brushes in different colors so that she can choose the one she wants when it’s time to brush.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and most pediatric dentists say it’s a good idea to bring your child to a dentist around the time she turns 1 y.o., just in case there’s a problem that your family doctor missed or couldn’t diagnose. If your child still hasn’t sprouted his first tooth by 16 months, or if you notice tooth decay, mention it to your pediatrician, who will likely refer you to a dentist office such as Opencare.