Good dental hygiene habits should begin before your child’s first tooth comes in. Wiping your baby’s gums with a soft damp cloth after feedings helps to prevent the buildup of bacteria. When teeth appear, start using a soft children’s toothbrush twice a day.
Fluoride is known to reduce cavities in primary teeth (baby teeth) and permanent teeth (adult teeth). Your child can get it from drinking water, (if your community’s water is fluoridated), or from an oral fluoride supplement prescribed by your doctor beginning at 6 months of age. Your child will have additional cavity protection if your doctor or dental professional applies a fluoride varnish to primary “baby” teeth once they appear and every 6 to 12 months after that.
Once your child is preschool-age, start using fluoride toothpaste. Don’t cover the brush with toothpaste; a small pea-sized amount is just right.