Caring for Your Infant’s Mouth
Your baby doesn’t have teeth, but you should still clean his or her mouth.
It is a good idea to get in the habit of cleaning your baby’s gums soon after birth. Although there may be a little fussing at first, your infant will get used to having the mouth cleaned like other parts of the body. Many children grow to enjoy tooth-brushing as part of their daily routine.
To clean your baby’s mouth:
1. Lay your infant in your lap. The head should be close to your chest so you can look down directly into your child’s mouth.
2. Clean the gums by rubbing a clean, damp, washcloth along the baby’s upper and lower gums. You can also use terrycloth finger cots, which fit over the finger and are made for this purpose. They are sold in many drugstores.
When the teeth come into the mouth, switch to a soft-bristled, infant-sized toothbrush. Unless your dentist recommends otherwise, start using a toothpaste with fluoride.
For children who are younger than 3 years, use only a “smear” of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) on the bristles of the toothbrush.
Follow these steps at least twice a day.
Once after breakfast and once after the last feeding of the day.
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