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Proper dental care starts at birth, even before baby’s teeth start to poke through the gums. To prevent bacteria from building in baby’s mouth, experts recommend wiping the gums with gauze or a soft, wet washcloth. You don’t need to use toothpaste. Simply wrap the cloth or gauze around your index finger and gently rub baby’s gums and tongue. Getting baby used to having his mouth cleaned on a routine basis helps transition to brushing his teeth once they start to come in.

Use a baby toothbrush and a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush twice a day – once in the morning and once right before bedtime. There is no need to rinse if you use a very small amount of toothpaste – about the size of a grain of rice. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends taking baby to the dentist within 6 months after his first tooth comes in or by his first birthday, whichever comes first.

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