4) When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush and water. Cleaning should continue with the eruption of the first primary tooth. One method of cleaning the first teeth is to drape a gauze pad or terry washcloth over your fingers and gently wipe the teeth and gums. When the child accepts this procedure, introduce an infant size soft toothbrush (toothlette) with a very small (pea-size) amount of fluoridated toothpaste. **(Note: toothpaste is not necessary to clean teeth. It is the mechanical action of the toothbrush bristles on the teeth that is effective.) Remember that most small children do not have the dexterity to brush their teeth effectively!

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