Good oral hygiene should begin when your baby gets his or her first tooth, which usually occurs sometime around six months of age. At first, you can just wipe off the teeth with a baby washcloth, but when your baby has several teeth, it's time to switch to a baby toothbrush. Look for a toothbrush that is the right size and texture for your baby and is easy for you to use.
Your baby's gums are soft and sensitive, so look for a brush that has soft bristles. Most baby toothbrushes come with soft bristles, but check the packaging to be sure. The baby toothbrush that you choose also should have a very small head. This will allow you to brush one or two teeth at a time, and will help you avoid injuring your baby's mouth or gagging him or her.
Look for a baby toothbrush that has a thick, easy-to-hold handle. You will be able to get a better grip on a large handle, particularly if it also has a non-slip cover, because your baby's toothbrush can get slippery. This can prevent slippage that might startle or slightly injure your baby.
When considering which baby toothbrush to buy, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind. Although an electric toothbrush has a small head and might come with soft bristles, the sound might scare a small child. An older baby or toddler might be more receptive to having his or her teeth brushed if a favorite character is featured on the brush or if the toothbrush is in a favorite color.
While you are buying a baby toothbrush, also look for a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Use only a rice grain-sized amount each time you brush your baby's teeth. If your baby is younger than six months old, use a toothpaste that does not contain fluoride, because this element is recommended only for people who are more than six months old.
Talk to your child's dentist about any concerns that you have about your baby's dental hygiene. He or she can also recommend a toothbrush brand. Good tooth care in the early years can contribute to good habit formation and a healthy smile for years to come.