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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.