According to the Indiana State Department of Health, the best time to start caring for your baby’s mouth and teeth is before the teeth even erupt. Not only will proper care early on keep your baby’s gums healthy, but it will also ensure that your baby’s permanent teeth have enough room to make their appearance later on. Making the care of your baby’s mouth a part of your daily routine will also help to prevent or minimize tooth decay once the baby teeth do come in.
Wet a washcloth with lukewarm water. Drape the washcloth over your pointer finger and wipe it over your baby's gums. WebMD recommends doing this at least twice per day to get rid of any bacteria in the mouth; however, wiping after each feeding is ideal.
Resist the urge to put your baby to bed with a bottle. Formula or juice bottles that are allowed to remain in the mouth while your child sleeps can cause tooth decay and bottle rot.
Brush your baby's teeth carefully as soon as they come in, using a soft bristle toothbrush with a small head, making sure you get both the back and front teeth. Toothpaste is not necessary. The best time to brush your baby's teeth is right before bed.
Take your baby to the dentist on his first birthday. The dentist will be able to give your toddler's teeth a deeper cleaning than you are capable of at home. Your dentist will then be able to recommend a schedule for routine cleaning and exams. This is typically done every 6 months.