It is of utmost importance that you start your baby’s oral care regimen as early as possible, both to keep his teeth and gums healthy and to build up good dental care habits in him when he is older. A finger toothbrush can be the foundation for such oral care.
When can you start using a finger toothbrush for your infant?
Right from the beginning, even before his first tooth erupts, you need to clean your baby’s gums daily. Many prefer to use a clean and damp muslin cloth or some gauze, but you may start using a small finger toothbrush with a little toothpaste (after asking your pediatrician) when your baby is 2-3 months old.
Why go for a finger toothbrush?
A soft wet cloth does work well for the purpose, so it might seem unnecessary to switch to a toothbrush, especially if your baby is just a few months old. But, there are some benefits to consider:
- The soft silicone bristles provide a safe way to start using an actual toothbrush without having to put nylon bristles in the tiny mouth of your baby.
- The soft bumps on the back of the bristle-head clean the gums and tongue, also providing a massaging effect which is particularly soothing for a teething baby.
- Soft and colorful finger toothbrushes feel like vibrant toys your baby would love, and you can also let him ‘play’ with them safely, encouraging a healthy brushing habit. (However, keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t choke on it)
What to look for when buying?
With so many modern varieties available, it does help to know beforehand what you should be looking for:
- Check the circumference of the toothbrush band to make sure it fits your fingertip well-enough to provide you proper grip and control while brushing
- Get a non-toxic silicone finger toothbrush with soft silicone bristles
- Make sure that the bristle-head fits into your baby’s mouth, as a brush too large or too small may choke him
- Bright colors and attractive designs can help keep the attention of babies, making the brushing time interesting
- Check if the brush is meant to be handled by adults only or if you can let the baby operate it occasionally, especially if you are buying for a soon-to-be toddler.
Top 5 Finger Toothbrushes for Babies
1. Baby Buddy Finger Toothbrush Stage 2 for Infants/Toddlers(pack of 2)
BPA-free and made of 100% food-grade FDA-approved silicone, it is the stage 2 brush of a 6-stage oral care routine for babies older than 3 months.
Pros: A snug fit ensures the brush does not come off in the baby’s mouth. Additionally, it is freezable, which can be particularly good for teething days.
Cons: To be used by adults only, and yet, the brush cap may be a little too small to fit over your finger, especially if you have large fingers. It might be a little difficult for dads to use.
2. Finger Toothbrush by BabyBaus, for Babies and Toddlers (pack of 3)
Made of FDA-approved and BPA-free 100% silicone, each toothbrush comes in colorful individual cases. It can be used for babies older than 2-3 months.
Pros: There are plenty of thin bristles, so it can be a start-up option for 1-2-year-old toddlers who hate bristles. The reasonably wide cap fits nicely on most size of fingers. It also protects the finger somewhat if your baby decides to bite.
Cons: If using for relatively older tots, switch to bristles soon, as the silicone bristles don’t clean either. People with especially thick fingers might have some problems using the brush.
3. Baby Toothbrush With Case (pack of 6)
Made of BPA-free, FDA-approved silicone, it is the stage 2 dental and gum care package of a 6-stage oral care program. It is recommended for babies over 3 years because of the toothbrush’s small, soft bristle head.
Pros: It provides a little protection to your finger if your angel decides to bite or chew the toothbrush. Small silicone bumps encircle the whole brush-top (leaving the bristle area) instead of just the back, so the gum massaging and tongue cleaning are done well.
Cons: The bristles might be too narrow for kids over a year. Also, if you have large fingers, you might have to use your pinky finger for brushing.
4. Summer Infant Finger Toothbrush with Case (pack of 1)
BPA-free, 100% food-grade silicone brush, it is safe for newborns and older kids.
Pros: Relatively small in size, so for toddlers, it can be a good way of learning to use a brush under parental supervision. And the soft texture and pretty color encourage babies to hold it themselves.
Cons: It might be hard to fit on thicker fingers (but you might find it reasonably easy to control the brush with just your fingertips).
5. Ashtonbee Baby Toothbrush and Oral Massager (pack of 2)
BPA and chemical-free, made of FDA-approved soft silicone, suitable to be used for newborns to older babies.
Pros: Extra-soft bristles take care of the delicate gums (and teeth, if any), while babies also love to chew on them, and play with them, which constitutes the foundation for good brushing habits. The full head of bristles is good for cleaning the tiny teeth of toddlers.
Cons: Some people might find it too small to fit on their fingers. You can use the pinky finger though. The silicone is quite soft, which might be painful for you when your baby bites the brush.
Building good oral care habits in your baby from the beginning can save you the inconvenience of running after him every night before bedtime to make him brush his teeth. But make sure not to keep using a finger toothbrush for too long, or it might become a bad habit for your child, and he might never want to switch to a nylon brush.
Dr. Mashiach has completed his MD at the Sackler School of Medicine, TAU; specialization in gynecology at the Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; fellowship in Endoscopy at the Polyclinique de I’Hotel-Dieu, Universite d’Auvergne, Clermont, France.
He is a Senior Physician, Director of the Department of Gynecology, which provides routine and preventative care services to its patients and a full range of gynecological surgical procedures for adequately managing its patients with benign gynecologic disorders.
He offers advanced care in all gynecological subspecialties such as Urogynecology, Colposcopy, Fetal Loss Clinic, and Post Menopausal Clinic.