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Oral Health

Newborns and Oral Health

Here's what you should know about oral health in newborns:
  • The same germs that cause tooth decay in your mouth can be passed to your baby if you put your baby's items, such as toys, spoons, or pacifiers in your mouth.
  • Wiping your baby's teeth and gums with a soft cloth or a baby's toothbrush after each nursing and feeding can help remove sugars found in milk that can cause tooth decay.
  • If you bottle-feed your baby, it should end by age 1. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Never place a pacifier covered with honey or sugar in your baby's mouth when he or she sleeps. Sucking on a bottle when lying down can destroy the baby's teeth, causing years of tooth pain and problems eating.
  • Pediatricians and pediatric dentists suggest that all babies have an oral exam between 1 and 2 years old to screen for oral health problems in your child's mouth. You also can learn how to properly care for your child's teeth and mouth.

Toothpaste and Mouthwash

There are so many types of toothpastes to choose from! Some say they're made for whitening, others for reducing gingivitis and plaque, and others for sensitive teeth. You should feel good choosing whatever brand and flavor you like if you know these basics:
  • As long as the toothpaste contains fluoride and its box has the American Dental Association's (ADA) seal of acceptance, it is good for your oral health. Beyond that, choosing toothpastes based on what they claim to do is a personal choice.
  • Mouthwashes claim to freshen your breath, but they really only mask breath odor for a few hours. If you must constantly use a breath freshener to hide bad mouth odor, see your dentist.
  • If you need extra help controlling plaque, your dentist might suggest using an antiseptic mouth rinse. Many of these products are accepted by the ADA because they reduce plaque and gum disease, and help kill the germs that cause bad breath.
  • You also may want to use a fluoride mouth rinse along with brushing and flossing to help prevent tooth decay.
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