Mouth Care for your Infant-Toddler (Birth to 3 years)
Your baby’s teeth will be needed for: Eating/chewing, smiling/appearance, talking/speech and health adult teeth.
Birth to 6 months – Healthy habits start early. Good dental health starts even before you child has teeth.
- Wipe your baby’s gums every day with a wet cloth to keep their mouth clean and to help with teething.
- Do not put anything sweet on pacifiers or soothers
- If you are feeing by bottle, hold your baby instead of putting your baby to bed with the bottle
6 to 12 months – Celebrate the first tooth and those that come after! This is an important event and so is the arrival of all other new teeth.
- When your baby’s teeth start to appear, begin to brush each morning and night.
- Use a small, soft toothbrush with a smear of a children’s fluoride toothpaste.
- Teach your child to drink from a cup
- Offer a variety of foods with different textures (mashed and finger foods) to help the mouth develop normally.
- Some babies have no problem.
- Some babies start to get teeth as early as 3 months old.
- You may notice your baby drools more. It helps to rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger or offer then a cool teething ring.
- Cookies, crackers and biscuits are not a good choice for teething because they can cause tooth decay.
- Teething will continue until all 20 baby teeth come in.
12 to 18 months – Step by step your child learns new skills
- It is recommended that children have their “First Dental Visit” around their first birthday.
- Continue to brush your child’s teeth twice each day with a smear of a children’s fluoride toothpaste.
- Don’t give up! Brushing may be difficult at this age.
- Try to have a regular routine (brush morning and night)
- Brushing can be done anywhere – try and make it fun.
- Make sure you can see into your child’s mouth when brushing
- Baby molars are coming in so be sure to brush the back teeth.
- Your child could be at risk for early childhood tooth decay if they still use a bottle with anything other than water.
18 months to 3 years – Building healthy habits for life. Children still need your help.
- Most children have all 20 baby teeth by the time they are 3 years old.
- Continue to brush your child’s teeth twice each day with a children’s fluoride toothpaste (slowly increase the amount of toothpaste to about the size of a pea when they have learned to spit it out).
- Children will want to brush by themselves, however they will not yet have the ability to do a good job. You will still need to continue to brush for your child.
- Give a variety of healthy snacks from all 4 food groups. Give snacks mid way between meals.
- By now your child should be visiting the dentist for regular check ups.
- Set a good example! Brush and floss your own teeth every day and visit your dentist regularly.