Tips to Provide Good Oral Health for Infants and Toddler


Children should visit the dentist twice a year – beginning at age one! Many parents are unaware their children should see a dentist so young. To find a dentist, parents should contact their insurance company or HMO.  The NJ Smiles Directory also provides a list of dentists who treat young children.

To protect your child’s smile…and oral health…

  • Clean your child’s mouth twice a day, even if no teeth have yet erupted. Wipe gums with gauze. Anything that touches someone else’s mouth should not be allowed to touch your child’s mouth.
  • Once the first tooth appears, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and water to brush your child’s teeth.
  • Children should have their first dental visit around the time of their first tooth eruption and no later than age 1.
  • Children should receive fluoride rinse/teeth cleaning and sealants to prevent tooth decay.
  • There should be 20 teeth in your child’s mouth by age 3.
  • Never put your child to sleep with a bottle containing anything but water. Sugary foods and drinks should be avoided. Products containing xylitol, a type of sugar that is beneficial for dental health, should be encouraged.
  • Routine exams should occur every six months or as determined by your child’s dentist.
  • Once your child learns not to swallow toothpaste, use a rice-sized speck of fluoride toothpaste to brush teeth.

Find other tips for keeping your child’s teeth healthy.

When should my child see a dentist?