After Birth

A healthy mouth is important for your baby
Start caring for your baby’s mouth soon after birth
Keeping Your Newborn Cavity Free
  • Beginning soon after birth, clean your child’s gums daily with a clean, wet washcloth.
  • Do not put your child to bed with a bottle. Children should be weaned from a bottle between 12-18 months.
  • Avoid saliva-sharing activities, such as sharing utensils or cleaning a pacifier in your mouth and then placing it in your baby’s mouth. Germs that cause cavities are passed from mother to child.

When teeth come in
  • Once teeth come in, start brushing your child’s teeth twice a day with a “smear” (or rice size) amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Use a small, child-sized toothbrush.
  • Lay your child down on a comfortable surface, like a changing table.
  • Position yourself behind the child’s head.
  • Give your child a toy to hold.
  • Brush 2-3 teeth at a time.
  • Ask your child’s doctor about fluoride drops, tablets, and varnish.
  • Try to avoid giving your child foods and drinks containing sugar. Children should not have juice during their first year.

Children should have their first dental visit by age 1.