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From the moment a child cuts his or her first tooth (usually around six months of age), dental care becomes an important part of healthy growth and development. Caring for a small mouth full of brand-new teeth can be both intimidating and difficult, which is why we’ve provided a few tips to help you maintain your infant’s oral health.

1. Begin with the beginning.

Within the first few days of birth, clean your child’s mouth by gently wiping the gums with a moist, clean gauze pad or washcloth.

2. Less toothpaste is more.

Begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they appear. Since children don’t learn to spit to spit until age three, they shouldn’t use a lot of toothpaste. A smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice is enough. When children are between three and six, they may upgrade to a pea-sized amount.

3. Beware of bottles (and pacifiers).

When your child is ready to bottle feed, avoid sugary drinks like fruit juice and soda, which can cause cavities. Don’t put children to bed with bottles, as this can cause tooth rot. If your child persistently requires a bottle at bedtime, fill it with water. Don’t dip pacifiers in honey or sugar before giving them to your child.

4. Don’t share germs at the dinner table.

Refrain from sharing your eating utensils with your child to avoid spreading cavity-causing bacteria.

For more information on caring for your infant’s teeth, call Dr. Joseph Opack at 651.488.5522. Like adults, babies should have their teeth checked every six months. Come visit our practice, St. Paul Family Dentistry, in St. Paul, Minnesota. We will give your infant’s oral health a strong start.