Oral care for infants and toddlers

Caring for Your Baby’s Teeth

Taking good care of baby’s first teeth is an important step in the health of permanent teeth.1,3 Here are some key dental care tips:

  • Don't let your child fall asleep while sucking a bottle that contains milk, formula, or sweet fluids.3 If you let sugary fluids sit in the baby’s mouth, you increase the likelihood of tooth decay.1,3

  • Limit sugary beverages. Unsweetened fruit juices, teas, and water are best, according to the American Academy of General Dentistry.At bedtime, only offer water.

  • Before teeth come in, clean gums after feedings, using a damp washcloth.2,3

  • Once teeth erupt, brush with water and a soft toothbrush every day.2,3By age 2, or by the time your child can spit, use a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste.2,3

  • Take your child for a first dental visit within six months of the first tooth eruption, and no later than the first birthday.2,3,4



1 “How Do I Care for My Child’s Baby Teeth?” Academy of General Dentistry. February 2007. www.agd.org/support/articles/?ArtID=1173. Accessed 2010.

2 “Is My Child at Risk for Early Childhood Tooth Decay?” Academy of General Dentistry. February 2007. www.agd.org/support/articles/?ArtID=1175. Accessed 2010.

3 “Tooth Eruption: The Primary Teeth.” Journal of the American Dental Association. November 2005, vol. 136, p. 1619. Accessed 2010.

4 “Baby Teeth.” American Dental Association. Accessed 2010.

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