When it comes to taking care of your little one's first pearly
whites, prevention is key. According to the American Academy of
Pediatric Dentistry, a child should first see a dentist whenever
his first tooth comes in, usually between 6 months and 1 year of
age. Even before that first tooth appears, though, the AAPD
recommends cleaning baby's gums with a soft infant toothbrush and
water starting at birth (unless otherwise recommended, don't use
fluoridated toothpaste until age 2 or 3).
To prevent Early Childhood Caries (also known as baby bottle
tooth decay or nursing caries), don't put baby to bed with a bottle
or nurse at-will at night after his first tooth appears. Also try
to make the switch to a sippy cup between 12 and 14 months.
And don't worry too much about that thumb-sucking or pacifier
habit-the AAPD says that only prolonged sucking can cause damage.
The association recommends discouraging the habit if it continues
after age 4. For more information or to find a pediatric dentist in
your area, visit aapd.org.
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