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Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health

Dental Do's — 6 to 12 months

  • Baby teeth are important. Tooth decay in baby teeth can be painful and can cause health problems like infections. A clean and germ-free mouth is a healthy place for teeth to grow.  Your baby will get their first tooth around 6 months.
  • Brush your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Brush your baby’s teeth 2 times a day with a small smear of fluoride toothpaste on a baby toothbrush (about the size of a grain of rice). The best times to brush are before bed and after breakfast.  Try putting your baby’s head in your lap to make it easier to brush their teeth.
  • Put your baby to bed with hugs and love, not a bottle.  Sleeping with a bottle of formula or juice is a leading cause of cavities in young children.  If you must give your baby a bottle at bedtime or naps, fill it with water only.
  • Only put breast milk, formula or plain water in your baby’s bottle. Sweet drinks like Gatorade, Kool-Aid and soda pop have sugar that causes cavities and should not be put in the bottle.
  • Lift the lip and look.  Babies change quickly. Every month, lift your baby’s lip and check all their teeth for the first signs of cavities.  If you see white or brown spots on the teeth or anything unusual, contact your baby’s dentist or physician.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse if your baby needs fluoride varnish.  Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that is painted on teeth to help prevent new cavities and help stop cavities that have already started.
  • First visit by first birthday – schedule your baby’s first dental check-up. When your baby turns 1 year, schedule a dental check-up for your baby.  If you do not have a dentist, ask your physician to check your baby’s teeth.
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