Are you giving tooth decay to your baby?

Here’s how to care for baby’s teeth for a childhood of healthy smiles.

Avoid sharing saliva

You can give the bacteria that causes tooth decay to your baby through saliva-sharing activities such as sharing utensils, food or licking pacifiers. Once baby has this bacteria, they are much more susceptible to cavities as early as their first tooth.

Brush morning and night

  • Before baby has teeth: Clean gums with a soft cloth.
  • When teeth appear: Begin brushing teeth with a small, soft toothbrush without toothpaste and clean gums with a soft cloth.
  • At age two: Brush teeth with a pea-sized drop of fluoridated toothpaste on a small toothbrush and wipe teeth when finished until child can rinse and spit.
  • Don’t share spoons, forks, cups or any utensil that could transmit cavity causing bacteria to baby.

Eat right for dental health

  • Do not dip a pacifier in sugary substances or put sweetened liquids in a baby bottle.
  • Never leave your child unattended with a baby bottle, especially at bedtime.
  • Never put baby to bed with a bottle or, if you do, only put water in it.
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks, including sticky foods such as raisins and fruit roll-ups.

See your dentist or health care provider regularly!

  • Your child should start regular visits to the dentist by age one. The dentist will look in your baby’s mouth and talk to you to determine if they are at risk for dental disease.
  • Parents should see a dentist regularly to keep their mouths clean and limit the cavity-causing bacteria in their mouths which can easily transfer to babies.