Fluoride – the mineral in water that helps keep teeth decay at bay – is good for babies too. You get fluoride through your water and also in your toothpaste. It’s never too soon to start giving your baby fluoride. Here are some tips to get started.
- Tap water: It’s a great source of fluoride. If you want to put your baby down with a bottle at naptime, put water in it rather than juice, milk or formula. It will give your baby fluoride and avoid baby bottle rot. If your water district doesn’t have fluoride in the water, consider giving your baby fluoride/vitamin drops as soon as possible after birth. Your dentist can help you figure out the right dose.
- Fluoride toothpaste: For young children up to age three, use a “smear” of fluoride toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice on their teeth to help prevent tooth decay. For children ages three to six, use a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Assist in toothbrushing: For infants, wipe the baby’s gums with gauze or a clean washcloth after each feeding.
- Don’t use mouthwash unless recommended by your dentist. If you do give your child a mouth rinse, be sure to supervise. You don’t want your child to swallow it.
When it comes to good oral health for your baby and young child, it’s never too early to start with a healthy dental regimen. Learn more about how to care for your child’s teeth.