How should I care for my infant’s or toddler’s mouth?

As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts you should begin daily brushing. Training toothpaste or a light smear of fluoride toothpaste can be used cleanse the teeth upon eruption. A pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used after your child is old enough not to swallow it. Once your child has adequate motor control they should be able to brush his or her own teeth twice a day with supervision to make sure he or she is doing a thorough job.

Infants and young children may suck on their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers, and other objects in order to feel secure and happy. Most children naturally stop sucking their thumbs by the age of 3, but if the habit persists beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth it can cause developmental and alignment problems.

Pacifiers can affect the teeth essentially the same way as sucking fingers and thumbs. However, use of the pacifier can be controlled and modified more easily than the thumb or finger habit. If you have concerns about thumb sucking or use of a pacifier, be sure to let Dr. Caitlin know at your child’s visit.