There is no hard and fast rule which states that dental hygiene should start only after your baby’s first teeth appears. Good dental care starts right from birth. Healthy teeth help children to chew food easily, learn to talk clearly and smile with confidence. It is better to clean your baby’s teeth while giving bath to your little one. Use a soft infant toothbrush and water, or a wet washcloth to clean your baby’s teeth and avoid toothpaste as babies often swallow it.
Fix an appointment with the pediatric dentist after the baby’s first tooth appears, at about 6 to 12 months.
Teeth require fluoride to remain healthy and resist decay. While fluoride is usually present in local water supplies, if you live in an area that does not have fluoridated water, it is better to discuss with your pediatrician, the need of a fluoride supplement for your baby. You can also get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to know the best fluoride supplements for your baby. Don’t start using fluoridated toothpaste until your child’s second or third birthday, unless your doctor recommends otherwise.
Be cautious and never put an infant, toddler or young child to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice. The liquid suckled from the bottle stays on the teeth and gums causing tooth decay. Never do it even when the baby’s first tooth has not appeared. If your child is used to sleeping with a bottle, fill it with plain water and feed your infant.