When they were a year old, I gave the twins their first toothbrushes – green for Rehaan and yellow for Naseem. They each gleefully grabbed their brush, stuck it in their mouth and started brushing. It looked like they knew what they were doing! Maybe they liked the feel of the bristles against their teeth. In any case, hopefully they were accomplishing something. My hope was that they were establishing a habit. Their parents were concerned that they would swallow the toothpaste, but I told them that they really did not have to put any toothpaste on the brush or just a speck if they really wanted to. The brushing action alone was enough to clean the teeth.
Parents should assist the brushing until the child is old enough to accomplish the task without supervision. Parents or caregivers should use a piece of gauze to regularly clean the infant teeth as soon as they erupt. It’s also a good idea to introduce a young child to floss so they get into the habit of cleaning in between the teeth. And don’t forget a healthy diet and regular twice yearly visits to my East Setauket, Long Island dental office.