Marie, I am writing to you about my nine-month-old baby’s teeth. I don’t know if my baby can have tartar at this age, and how many times I should brush their teeth a day. Right now he has five teeth. Also, I saw an electric toothbrush for infants, and I was wondering if I could use it for a baby under one year of age. I know I have lots of questions, but can you also tell me which toothpaste I can use for young babies? Thank you for all your answers! Agathe

Hello Agathe, yes, indeed you have lots of questions about your baby’s teeth! To provide you with the best answers possible, I asked a dentist professional advice from a dentist I work with. This can help other parents who have similar questions.

First, after research and consultation, it seems unlikely that your baby has tartar on their teeth unless they have been severely neglected. The enamel on a baby’s first teeth is more sensitive to cavities than the permanent ones that follow. Their gums are also more sensitive and need to be handled with care. This is why you should brush each tooth as it pops out, ideally three times a day, but at a minimum two, with a more intense session at night. Parents should use light pressure, like brushing a ripe tomato without piercing the skin. You should use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Brush softly but more often.

Since infants will frequently snack, eat meals and drink milk, you need to try to prevent cavities as repeatedly absorbing foods keeps acidity levels higher in their mouth, which is a significant source of dental issues. When you give your infant something to drink, either in a bottle or sippy glass, keep the drinking period short unless it’s water. After eating or drinking milk, you may want to brush their teeth, especially after they sleep to avoid cavities caused by residue in their mouth.

For toothpaste, many products on the market are suitable for young babies. It needs to contain fluoride. If it doesn’t (like Tom’s of Maine), it’s useless because fluoride helps prevent cavities in infants. Dora toothpaste is excellent. After talking to my dental advisor, you should avoid products that contain triclosan, for example, Colgate Total. For the amount of toothpaste, you should use no more than a grain of uncooked rice up to three years of age. This will ensure your baby doesn’t swallow any. You also don’t need to use toothpaste for every brushing but use it at least once a day.

For your last question about electric toothbrushes, these are not adapted to infants. You need to be able to use them safely, and parents don’t have full control over babies that usually squirm and complain during brushing. You may also damage their sensitive gums. Wait until later in your infant’s life.

Agathe, I think I have answered your questions, and hope this information will help all parents!

Talk soon,

The Baby Expert