My 5-month-old daughter is teething, but she hasn't gotten her first tooth yet. How should I care for her teeth when they come in?
Proper dental care begins before your daughter's first tooth appears. Each day, run a clean, damp washcloth over her gums to clear away harmful bacteria.
Once her teeth begin to come in, follow these tips:
Even babies can develop tooth decay if good feeding habits aren't practiced. Putting a baby to sleep with a bottle might be convenient, but can harm the baby's teeth. When the sugars from juice or milk remain on a baby's teeth for hours, they can eat away at the enamel, creating a condition known as bottle mouth. Pocked, pitted, or discolored front teeth are signs of bottle mouth. Severe cases result in cavities and the need to pull all of the front teeth until the permanent ones grow in.
Never let your daughter fall asleep with a bottle in her mouth, and set specific times for drinking because sucking on a bottle throughout the day can be equally damaging to young teeth. Once she's 6 months old, she can switch from a bottle to a sippy cup (with a straw or hard spout), which lowers the dental risks related to bottle-feeding.
Reviewed by: Rupal Christine Gupta, MD
Date reviewed: May 2015
|American Dental Association (ADA) The ADA provides information for dental patients and consumers.|
|Healthy Teeth Produced by dentists, Healthy Teeth is designed for elementary-age students curious about oral health.|
|Teething Tots Teething can be a tough time for babies and parents. Here are the facts on teething, including tips for baby teeth hygiene and relieving pain.|
|Is My Son Old Enough to Brush His Teeth? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Can Too Much Juice Discolor Teeth? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Keeping Your Child's Teeth Healthy Here are the basics about how to care for your child's teeth - and when.|
|Your Teeth There's much more to a tooth than meets the eye. This article for kids gives you the inside story.|
|Mouth and Teeth Our mouth and teeth play an important role in our daily lives. Here's a course on the basics - including common problems of the mouth and teeth.|
|What's a Cavity? Cavities are small holes in your teeth that need to be filled. Find out what causes tooth decay and how dentists handle it.|
|Taking Care of Your Teeth The healthier your teeth are, the happier you look. That's why it's important to take great care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist. Learn more.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.