Even before baby's first tooth has sprouted, you can set the stage for healthy habits. Once or twice a day, wipe her gums with a piece of gauze. You'll get her used to the routine of cleaning inside the mouth and help prevent bacteria from building up in her gums. As soon as a few baby teeth erupt, you can switch to a soft toothbrush. You don't need toothpaste yet; if you want to use it, choose one without fluoride (until your child is 4), and squeeze out just a pea-size amount. To get your child to open wide, try this idea from K. Bley, of New York City: "My 16-month-old daughter and I play a game. We each hold the brush and sing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.' Every time she pulls the brush out of her mouth, I stop singing. I start again when she puts it back. She loves the game."