Pregnancy and Beyond

Give your child his own special toothbrush. It should be small and have soft bristles. Clean your child's gums with a warm, clean, wet washcloth. Take your child to the dentist for regular checkups and ask about fluoride treatments.

At first, you'll need to do most of the brushing for your child until he develops the necessary skills. Use only a small amount of toothpaste because toddlers don't spit well and will probably swallow it.

The American Dental Association recommends that children receive adequate fluoride through 16 years of age. If your water supply is fluoridated, no supplemental fluoride drops should be given. If your child's primary source of water is commercial bottled water, check the fluoride content.

A final reminder! If your child is still drinking from a bottle, wean him as quickly as possible to prevent "baby bottle tooth decay.