American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that good oral health practices should start at birth and be enhanced during toddler years with a visit to the dentist. With infants, it's not uncommon for them to get tooth decay from their bottles. Around six months, or as soon as your baby's first few teeth appear, parents should begin taking measures to prevent early childhood cavities. Since severe tooth decay can occur in infants and toddlers, it's important to begin gently brushing your baby's gums and baby teeth with an infant toothbrush and water. When all the baby teeth have emerged, begin flossing them as well.

By age two, an increased brushing routine should be put into place. At first, you may have to help your toddler with holding the toothbrush and proper brushing technique. Dental radiography professionals recommend toddlers brush their teeth after breakfast and before bedtime. Additional brushings throughout the day should be encouraged if the child has eaten a lot of sweet treats.

Called "bottle mouth," it is caused by a baby regularly drinking sweetened juice or formula, especially too close to bed or nap times. The sugar collects in the mouth and forms bacteria at the gum line, causing decay on new teeth as they develop. This decay can also lead to dental problems in the permanent teeth. To prevent "bottle mouth," dentists recommend that parents clean their baby's gums with gauze and alternate bottle feedings between water and another liquid during the day. It's also recommended not to put your baby to sleep with a bottle.

You can begin introducing fluoride toothpaste once your child learns to spit it out instead of swallowing it. Parents should also teach their youngsters how to rinse out their mouths. Make the whole brushing routine fun, like making a game out of how long they can swish the water around in their mouth.

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