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How to Brush Baby's Teeth

Even if she's still all gums, you can take steps to keeping her heart-melting smile healthy. Use these tips when brushing baby's teeth.

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Brushing tiny teeth and massaging gums is important for ensuring a healthy smile down the road. Starting the day you bring your newborn home and until your baby's first tooth appears, usually around 6 months, rub a damp, clean washcloth over his gums ideally after every feeding, but at least once per day. This gets him used to an oral cleaning routine and removes lingering plaque and food. If germs build up in his mouth, he'll be more susceptible to cavities when his teeth start popping through. Once he has his first tooth, it's time to start brushing. You'll need a clean washcloth and a soft finger toothbrush, a rubber sheet with little bristles worn over your index finger. Moisten the cloth with water and put a pea-sized dab of fluoride-free training toothpaste on the finger brush. Sit on a chair or sofa and lay your baby on your lap, cradling his head in a feeding position. Using the finger brush, glide your fingers over his gums and wipe both sides of each tooth. If your baby is fidgety, keep his hands busy with a toy. To rinse, swipe a wet washcloth all around his teeth and gums. When back molars pop up around his first birthday, use a soft- bristled toddler toothbrush with training toothpaste. Starting with the upper teeth, brush in a gentle circular motion, going from the front of the tooth to the back and then the chewing surfaces on top. Repeat on the bottom, then sweep over the roof of the mouth, inside the cheeks, and over the tongue. Rinse with a swipe of the wet washcloth.