Begin by cleaning the baby’s mouth after every breast or bottle feeding. Do this by wiping the baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad. This removes plaque (a sticky film of bacteria) and residual food that can harm erupting teeth. As soon as teeth appear in the mouth, tooth decay can occur. Therefore, when your child’s teeth begin to erupt, brush them gently with a child’s size toothbrush and water. Brush the teeth of children over age two with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Be sure they spit out the toothpaste and rinse with water. (Ask your child’s dentist or physician if you are considering using fluoride toothpaste before age two.)
Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottle before going to bed. Place only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles; avoid putting sugary beverages such as juice or soda in bottles. It’s also important that caregivers take care of their own oral hygiene and avoid sharing saliva with the baby through common use of feeding spoons or licking pacifiers before giving them to babies.
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