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Taking Care of your baby's mouth and teeth

Start your baby off with good dental care when they are first born.

General oral health tips

  • Try not to share saliva with the baby through common use of feeding spoons or licking pacifiers.
  • If your child uses a pacifier, provide one that is clean - don't dip it in sugar or honey.

Bottles

  • Place only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks.
  • Infants should finish their bedtime and nap time bottles before going to bed.
  • Encourage your child to drink from a cup by his/her first birthday.

Cleaning the teeth

  • After each feeding, wipe your child's gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth.
  • When your child's teeth come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and a smear (grain of rice sized amount) of fluoride toothpaste until the age of 3.
  • Brush the teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste from ages of 3 and up.
  • Supervise brushing until your child can be counted on to spit and no swallow toothpaste - usually not before he or she is six or seven.

Teething

  • The first teeth come in around six months of age.
    • Some babies are even born with their first tooth while others don't get the first tooth until after a year old.
  • The two bottom front teeth are typically the first to come, followed by the top front teeth.
  • The dentist will check the teeth to ensure they are coming in okay and give you some tips on how to help your baby through this experience.
  • The dentists may discuss teething gels, cold teething rings, etc. and what can help when you're away from home.

Dental Visits

  • See your dentist for your baby's first visit by one year of age or within six months of the first tooth coming in.
  • The dentist will check the teeth to see if there are any cavities starting. If there are small areas of beginning decay, the dentist may put a fluoride varnish on the teeth. This can "heal" the beginning stages of a cavity if it's caught soon enough.
  • If your baby does already have a cavity, the dentist may want to treat it in the office or he may need to go to the hospital or surgical center. The dentist may also refer you to a pediatric dentist that specializes in treating children with dental treatment needs.

Watch the Baby Your Baby Mind Your Mouth message. (Large file 3.68 MB. Must have Quicktime or other video player to watch.)

Happy Healthy Teeth