Just after my child turned one year old, I made an appointment for her to see a dentist. When I shared my experience of my child going to the dentist with moms I know in real life, they were generally shocked that she went at one year old, as opposed to two years old.
Tooth decay in young kids can be serious. Check out this Health Promotion Board article on dental hygiene and kids.
education video on how to brush your teeth
Gina Ford (author of The Contented Little Baby series) also recommends that kids drop bottles and move towards sippy cups, beakers, straw cups etc as soon as they develop abilities to suck and eat solid foods.
Now that she's older, I've added toothbrushes and toothpaste to the list of things to buy.
I prefer that she brushes her teeth by herself although this may mean a less thorough job than if I had brushed her teeth for her. She went through a phase where she refused to open her mouth when it came to brushing time and no amount of singing, coaxing and playing devil's advocate would do.
The most successful method I had at that time was to keep buying new toothbrushes. Different colours, different brands, different pictures on the toothbrushes. Attracted by the 'new toothbrush', she would brush her teeth diligently for a while and the cycle would start all over again.
I bought this pack of 2 toothbrushes from The First Years at the Takashimaya Baby Fair in March and went through the cycle with DD. To my surprise, she really liked them and continued brushing her teeth with them for a full month! When I replaced the First Year toothbrush with another brand's (read on to find out why), she was noticeably less keen on brushing.
Left to right: K brand, The First Years, C brand (for older kids)
The handle of the First Years toothbrush is fat and curved, similar to those for older kids. DD can get a very good grip on the toothbrush whenever she brushes as her hands are not as trained as older children yet. Whereas the toddler toothbrush from another brand is thinner and less curved. The bristles for the First Years toothbrush is soft, so soft in fact that after just one month of usage, the toothbrush head resembles a toilet brush! The toilet brushlike appearance is probably due to DD biting on the toothbrush bristles while brushing her teeth (she tends to bite the straws of cups etc. Possibly the most vigorous biter among the children I know.)
K brand toothbrush after 2 months (left) vs The First Years toothbrush after 1 month (right)
I popped out and promptly bought more of the 2 pack toothbrushes (I didn't see any single packs). The price per toothbrush is comparable to that of K brand selling at major supermarkets, so budget-wise, it remains the same. You can find The First Years toothbrushes at major departmental stores.
Disclaimer: I did not receive payment or payment in kind for writing this blog post. Any opinions expressed are my own.