Even before a baby begins to show teeth, parents can start an oral hygiene regimen. Wiping the baby's gums with a wet washcloth or gauze can help to acclimate the baby to brushing, while also ensuring that the teeth receive attention as soon as they begin to poke through the gums.
Parents can switch to a toothbrush when they notice the first teeth start to emerge. A baby's first toothbrush should have a small head and soft bristles, as well as a large handle and a grip that the parent can easily manipulate.
Babies with teeth should receive a thorough brushing both in the morning and at night. Using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste, no bigger than a grain of rice, can help do the job. The inside, outside, and chewing surfaces need a brushing, as does the tongue. Finally, to establish good hygiene habits from the outset, the baby should have his or her first dental visit before the age of 12 months.