How Do I Care for My Baby's Teeth?

My 5-month-old daughter is teething, but she hasn't gotten her first tooth yet. How should I care for her teeth when they come in?

-Nicole

Good dental care starts even before a child's first tooth comes in. Running a damp washcloth over a baby's gums daily will help clear away harmful bacteria. Parents can brush kids' teeth as they come in with an infant toothbrush, using water without toothpaste.

A pea-sized amount of toothpaste may be used with supervision around age 2 or 3, when kids are able to spit it out. The American Dental Association recommends that kids start seeing a dentist by their first birthday.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: October 2009

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