It’s never too early to start a good oral care routine for your baby. As the first set of teeth start to erupt around 6 months, questions will arise about how to keep them strong and healthy. There are certain things you must know and implement into your baby’s daily routine to ensure proper care and dental health early on.

At about 6 months, the two lower front teeth will erupt, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth will erupt during the next 18 to 24 months but not always in an orderly sequence. By age 2 to 3 years, all 20 primary teeth should be present. As the first set of teeth emerge, you may use a toothbrush specifically designed for infants, or a wet wash cloth to remove plaque. Brushing or wiping at least once a day, at bedtime, will be adequate. Toothpaste is not to be used until the age of two.

Although the daily routine of cleaning your baby’s teeth is fairly simple, the real challenge may be weaning your child off of milk/breastmilk/formula around bedtime. Prolonged nursing and drinking of these sugary substances from a bottle is the main cause of rapid tooth decay (also referred to as baby bottle mouth). It occurs when a child is put to sleep while breast-feeding and/or bottle-feeding. The flow of saliva slows down while sleeping, and allows sugar to sit on the teeth. When putting your child to bed try giving them a bottle with water only.

Just remember…you’ve got this! By implementing a simple, daily routine and monitoring your child’s intake of sugary substances around bedtime, you are setting your child up to have amazing oral health and dental habits that will last a lifetime.