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Parenting an infant, especially your firstborn, is intimidating. You have a lot to learn, and you don’t always know where to find the answers, which is why we’ve provided a few tips to help you master the basics of keeping your child’s mouth healthy.

1. Newborn

Oral care should begin within the first few days of your child’s birth, long before he or she begins teething. Using a moist, sanitary gauze pad or washcloth, gently wipe the gums at least once a day.

2. Brushing

Make a habit of brushing your child’s teeth 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. Flossing

When your infant has two or more adjacent teeth, it’s time to begin flossing. Use dental floss to gently clean between teeth. Never use a toothpick or another sharp object.

4. 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.

As always, if you have questions or concerns about your child’s oral health, contact Dr. Gary Wegmann at 312.551.0500 or visit The Chicago Family Dental Center in Chicago, Illinois. Your infant’s health and happiness matter to us.