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Caring for Your Child’s Mouth from Birth through Age 6

  • Birth and Infancy
    • After feedings and before bedtime, use a clean, damp washcloth to wipe your baby’s gums to prevent build up of damaging bacteria.
    • Do not lay your baby down with a bottle.
      • Product to use: Infant washcloth.
  • First Tooth
    • As soon as your child’s first tooth comes in, brush twice a day, with fluoride toothpaste, especially before bedtime.
    • Use a soft child’s toothbrush and use water and a smear of fluoride toothpaste.
    • When using toothpaste, be careful to use only a small amount to prevent your child from swallowing the toothpaste.
    • Take your child to the dentist, no later than age one.
    • Do not lay your baby down with a bottle.
    • By child’s first birthday, teach him/her how to drink out of an open cup.
    • Only give your child milk or water; do not give him/her drinks with added sugar, including soda, juice, and punch.
      • Products to use: Child’s toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste.
  • Ages 2-3
    • Start teaching your child how to brush his/her teeth, but continue to brush for them to ensure teeth are cleaned properly.
    • Brush your child’s teeth with a smear of fluoride toothpaste twice a day, especially before bedtime.
    • As soon as two teeth touch each other, floss between them once a day.
    • Take your child to the dentist every six months.
    • Establish a dental home, a dentist that you and your family see on a regular basis, providing care for the majority of your dental needs.
    • Talk to your doctor or dentist about fluoride in your water. If your child drinks water that isn’t fluoridated, he or she may need fluoride pills or drops.
      • Products to use: Child’s toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, dental floss.
  • Ages 4-6
    • Continue to teach your child how to brush his/her teeth with a smear of fluoride toothpaste and encourage your child to brush on his/her own. Monitor your child closely to ensure he/she does not swallow toothpaste.
    • After your child brushes, it is important for you to brush his/her teeth to ensure teeth are cleaned properly.
    • Start to teach your child how to floss. Floss your child’s teeth once a day.
    • Take your child to the dentist every six months.
    • If you have not already, establish a dental home, a dentist that you and your family see on a regular basis, providing care for the majority of your dental needs.
    • If you have not already, talk to your doctor or dentist about fluoride in your water. If your child drinks water that isn’t fluoridated, he or she may need fluoride pills or drops.
      • Products to use: Child’s toothbrush, basic fluoride toothpaste, dental floss.
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