Baby Teeth Health
All baby teeth and some permanent teeth are formed before birth. Starting at birth, it is important to care for your child’s teeth.
Birth to Six Months
- After feedings, you may want to clean your baby’s gums with a damp, soft, clean cloth.
- Sucking pacifiers and fingers is natural. Keep them clean. DO NOT put the pacifier in your mouth to clean it—this can spread germs that cause tooth decay. NEVER dip the pacifier in honey or sweet substances.
- The first teeth usually appear between 6 and 12 months. Signs of teething may include: drooling, chin or face rash, biting or gumming things, runny nose, crying, pain and irritability, fussiness at night or at feedings, and diarrhea. These signs could also mean that your baby is sick. Call your doctor or nurse if you are worried.
- For teething babies, give them something to chew on. Try a chilled teething ring, a clean, frozen cloth, or a teething cookie. DO NOT USE numbing gels or alcohol on your baby’s gums.
- Check with the Department of Public Health, Office of Oral Health to see if your community’s water has flouride by calling 617-624-6074. If your community’s water has flouride, your baby does not need flouride supplements.
- Ask your doctor or nurse about fluoride supplements. Fluoride prevents cavities.
- DO NOT put juice or drinks with added sugar in your baby’s bottle.
- DO NOT allow your baby to fall asleep with a bottle.
Six to Twelve Months
- Prevent “baby bottle tooth decay.” Do not give bottles filled with juice, formula, or drinks with added sugar at bedtime or naptime.
- Start brushing your baby’s teeth with a soft toothbrush after feedings. Use a “smear” of fluoride toothpaste. It is not good for your baby to swallow toothpaste.
- Avoid sweet and sticky snacks, such as dried fruit, raisins, or candy. Offer small pieces of fruit, vegetables, and cheese as snacks.
- If you do give sweets, give them at one time and not all day long.
- If your child has an injury or is bleeding from the mouth, call your doctor right away.
Beyond Twelve Months
- Schedule your child’s first exam with a dentist.
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