Infant Oral Care

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When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?

The sooner the better. A baby’s gums should be cleaned with a soft cloth and water. By the time the first tooth comes in, you can start brushing the teeth and gums with a soft toothbrush twice a day.

When should I expect my baby’s first tooth to come in?

Most babies start to get their lower central incisors between 5 and 7 months of age, but the range varies widely. Most children have their full primary dentition (20 teeth) by 36 months.

How can I prevent tooth decay from a bottle or nursing?

Children should not be put to bed with or fall asleep with a bottle containing anything other than water. Nursing or bottle feeding just before bed can cause a tremendous increase in the risk of tooth decay. Always make sure that the milk or formula has been cleaned from their teeth before falling asleep. Feeding with a bottle should be ceased by 12–14 months of age to lower the risk of decay. Drinking juice or any sweetened drinks from a bottle should be avoided.

When should I start using toothpaste?

At first, cleaning the teeth can be done without toothpaste or with a non–fluoridated, infant/toddler toothpaste. Once your child has the ability to spit (usually age 2–3), you can start using a fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. All you need is half a pea-sized amount.

Do you have any advice on teething?

Gently massaging the gums of a teething baby can be soothing for some. Many children like the feel of a chilled teething ring or a cold, wet washcloth.

Is it true that a baby can get decay from his/her parents?

Babies are not born with decay–causing bacteria. They get it from their parent’s mouths. So being meticulous about your own oral hygiene can reduce the bacteria that you are exposing your child to

When do all of the primary teeth come in?

Please see the Eruption of Primary Teeth Chart below (click to enlarge):