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What can I do for my baby's oral health if I am a new mother?

Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. 

Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear -- which is typically around age six months. As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule a dental visit. The ADA recommends that the first dental visit take place within six months after the first tooth appears, but no later than a child’s first birthday. 
Simple preventative steps to ensure your baby's oral health include gently wiping your baby’s gums with a soft cloth after feeding to remove excess sugar from breast milk or formula. It's also a good idea to keep your baby items like pacifiers and spoons out of your own mouth to avoid passing on germs that can cause tooth decay in your baby's mouth.

Make sure to begin an early prevention program for your baby’s mouth health, including an initial visit to the dentist when your child’s first tooth appears, usually around 6 to 12 months old. Your child's teeth are at risk for decay as soon as he or she starts eating or drinking anything besides breast milk.

Your dentist will examine your baby's mouth, check for any problems, and instruct you on how to take care of your baby’s mouth and teeth.
You can do a lot! Below are some things you need to know about your baby's oral health.

The same germs that cause tooth decay in your mouth can be passed to your baby. Do not put your baby's items, such as toys, spoons, bottles, or pacifiers in your mouth. Wipe your baby's teeth and gums with a clean gauze pad or baby toothbrush after each nursing and feeding. This can help remove sugars found in milk that can cause tooth decay. If you bottle-feed your baby, try to finish bottle weaning by age 1. Avoid giving your baby bottles or pacifiers at naps and bedtime. Sucking on a bottle when lying down can harm your baby's teeth. All babies should visit a dentist by age 1. The dentist will screen for problems in your baby's mouth. You will also be shown how to care for your child's teeth and mouth. Talk with your doctor about the best water choices for infants. Fluoride is good for teeth. But too much fluoride can harm development of tooth enamel in infants.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.