10 Tips for Taking Care of Your Baby’s Teeth

Caring for your baby’s teeth and gums can be tricky — but it’s important to prevent early cavities and future dental problems. Learn about how you can ensure your child has the best start to lifelong oral health and where to find the best pediatric dentist in Anchorage.


A lifetime of healthy teeth and gums starts with good oral care habits — even before your child’s first tooth appears! 

More than half of children have a cavity by the age of eight. Like adults, infants and toddlers need good oral care to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Taking care of your baby's teeth and gums from an early age sets the foundation for a lifetime of good oral hygiene and can save you from the stress of your child needing more extensive dental care later on. 

Read on to learn more about dental care for infants and toddlers, how to establish healthy dental habits for your child, and where to find the best pediatric dentist in Anchorage.

How Can I Take Care of My Baby’s Teeth?

As parents, we all want the best for our children, including their oral health. By establishing good oral health habits early on, you can help your child avoid the discomfort and potential long-term consequences of tooth decay. Here are ten ways you can support your child’s oral health and set them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles: 

1. Clean Your Infant’s Gums Every Day

Even before your baby's first teeth emerge, gently wiping their gums with a soft, damp washcloth helps to remove bacteria and residual milk or formula. This simple practice promotes good oral hygiene and familiarizes your baby with the sensation of cleaning their mouth — laying the groundwork for future tooth brushing. 

2. Start Daily Brushing as Soon as the First Tooth Appears

When your baby's first tooth emerges, it's time to start a daily brushing routine. Gently brush your baby's tooth or teeth twice daily using a soft-bristled baby toothbrush and a rice-sized smear of fluoride toothpaste. This practice not only helps to remove plaque and food particles but also instills the habit of regular tooth brushing from an early age. 

3. Avoid Putting Baby to Bed With a Bottle 

When a baby falls asleep with a bottle of sugary liquids, such as milk or juice, it can pool around its teeth, leading to a higher risk of tooth decay and cavities. Additionally, constant exposure to sugary substances can contribute to early childhood cavities, also known as baby bottle tooth decay or bottle mouth. To prevent this, it's important to avoid leaving a bottle in bed with your baby and to clean their gums or brush their teeth before they sleep.

4. Consider Fluoride Varnish 

Many parents ask, “Is fluoride safe for infants?” The answer is yes! Several studies have proven that fluoride is perfectly safe and highly effective for strengthening tooth enamel. Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevents decay. In fact, fluoride varnish prevents about one-third of cavities in baby teeth. Many pediatricians offer fluoride varnish at well-child checkups, starting at around six months of age. Fluoride varnish provides an extra layer of defense against cavities, especially in the early stages of tooth development. 

By incorporating fluoride varnish into your baby's well-child visits, you can take proactive steps to safeguard their teeth and promote long-term oral health. 

5. Schedule Your Baby’s First Dental Appointment by Age One

Scheduling your baby's first dental visit by age one is important for establishing a foundation of good oral health and addressing any potential concerns. Additionally, it can guide parents on proper oral care, including brushing techniques, nutrition, and the importance of fluoride.

6. Introduce a Cup at Age One 

Introducing a cup to your baby at or around age one is an important step in their oral development and overall health. Transitioning from a bottle to a cup helps prevent prolonged exposure to sugary liquids, reducing the risk of tooth decay and childhood cavities.

7. Skip Sugary Drinks 

Sugary drinks, including fruit juices and soda, can contribute to tooth decay and cavities. Additionally, these drinks often displace more nutritious options such as water and milk, potentially impacting a child's overall diet and nutritional intake. Reducing your child's sugary drinks can help protect their teeth, reduce their risk of dental issues, and promote healthier dietary options and hydration. 

8. Help Your Young Child Brush 

Most children under 10 lack the dexterity and attention to detail to properly brush their teeth, leading to inadequate plaque removal and potential dental issues. By actively supervising and assisting with brushing, you can ensure that all surfaces of the teeth are adequately cleaned, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease. 

9. Lead by Example With Good Oral Health Habits 

Children often mimic the behaviors and habits of their parents, making it important for adults to demonstrate consistent and conscientious oral hygiene practices. By brushing, flossing daily, and attending regular dental check-ups, you can lead by example on the importance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. 

10. Take Your Child for Regular Pediatric Dental Check-ups and Fluoride Treatments

Taking your baby for regular pediatric dental check-ups allows the dentist to monitor the growth and development of your baby's teeth, identify potential issues, and provide guidance on oral care tailored to your child's specific needs. Moreover, regular dental check-ups from an early age familiarize your baby with the dental environment, helping to alleviate any potential anxiety about dental visits in the future. 

Early dental care is linked with fewer early childhood cavities and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as an essential factor in overall health and wellness for children. Following these ten tips can ensure that your child has the best start to life-long oral health and overall wellness. 

Where To Find the Best Pediatric Dentist in Anchorage

Choosing the best pediatric dentist for your child is an important first step in prioritizing your child’s oral health. At Kids Dental Tree, you can find an entire team of dental professionals passionate about serving the children of Anchorage, Eagle River, Wasilla, and Girdwood. 

Led by Dr. Ryan and Dr. Keller, who are both highly skilled in treating children of all ages and children with special needs, the team at Kids Dental Tree is committed to providing the highest-quality dental care in a kid-friendly environment and using the most advanced treatment methods. 

Ready to schedule an appointment with pediatric dentists who put your child’s comfort first in Anchorage?

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Kids Dental Tree

1310 E Dimond Blvd
Suite 3
Anchorage, AK 99515

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