How to Groom a Baby

Tooth and Gum Care

Before he sprouts teeth...

By wiping baby's gums, you'll get him used to the habit of daily teeth cleaning, which will make it easier to enforce brushing down the road. Wrap your finger in a bit of damp gauze or a washcloth, then swipe it over baby's gums. You can do this as often as twice a day. No toothpaste is needed at this early stage. Keep it up even after baby's teeth begin to erupt (around 6 months). You don't need to switch to a toothbrush until after the first couple of teeth have come in.

After he sprouts teeth...

Once baby has a few teeth, it's time to get him used to a toothbrush. Let him chew on one as he would a teething aid. After his first birthday he can imitate you brushing your own teeth. Either way, you'll still have to wipe baby's teeth yourself, either with a soft, baby-specific brush or damp gauze.

The more teeth he has, the more serious your brushing efforts will have to be to get rid of food particles and bacteria. Once all the baby teeth are in, you can begin using a tiny drop of toothpaste -- just get a pediatrician's okay first.

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