- If you must give the baby a bottle as a comfort at bedtime, it should contain only water.
- If your child won’t fall asleep without the bottle and its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle’s contents with water over a period of two to three weeks, progressing to strictly water in the bottle.
- After each feed, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth. You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first teeth come in. Gently brush with a child-sized toothbrush and water. Rinsing the mouth is an option you can try with older children.
- Fluoridated toothpaste can be used safely when you are sure that your child spits out all of the toothpaste after brushing. Older children can use a toothbrush with soft, nylon bristles. Use a very small amount of toothpaste (no more than the size of a pea). (You should consult the child’s dentist before considering using fluoride toothpaste).
- Avoid letting your infant walk around using a bottle of milk or juice as a pacifier or security object. Do not allow your child to sip on a bottle filled with juice, milk, or formula for long periods of time as a pacifier
- Start to teach your child to drink from a cup at about six months of age. Plan to stop using a bottle by 12 to 14 months at the latest.
- Always be sure your baby’s pacifier is clean. Don’t ever dip it in anything (such as sugar or honey). Don’t clean your baby’s pacifier by sucking on it yourself, a common but unhealthy practice, since you are passing bacteria from your mouth over to your baby!
- Since some medications are more than 50% sugar, they can also cause cavities to form. Be sure to have your child rinse or brush after taking medications.
- Inspect your baby’s teeth frequently and have them checked by your child’s doctor or a dentist.
- Start dental visits by your child’s first birthday.
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