Baby Dentist in Phoenix, AZ

Caring for Baby Teeth

Before coming to the dentist, here are some guidelines for at-home dental care before baby teeth appear: 

  • Parents should clean infant mouths and gums regularly with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. 
  • Children older than six months need fluoride supplements if their drinking water does not contain enough fluoride. Fluoride supplementation in infants has been shown to reduce tooth decay by as much as 50%. 
  • Babies should be weaned from the bottle by 12-14 months of age. Some guidelines recommend discontinuing breast-feeding once the first baby tooth appears and other sources of nutrition have been introduced. (I’m not sure I agree with that one – how long we breastfeed is a personal choice. Breastfeeding alone does not cause cavities, it is when breastfeeding is combined with other food and drinks that cause the bacterial growth.) If you do breastfeed after the introduction of other foods and drinks, try to make sure the baby does not fall asleep while breastfeeding and wipe her mouth out with a wet cloth afterwards. Because this is considered a “high risk” behavior, I would recommend visiting your pediatric dentist more frequently (like every three to six months) to keep an eye on things.
  • Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste (think of the size of a grain of rice) to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt. Once children are between three and six years old, increase it to a pea-size dollop.
  • Remember, the rule of thumb is that kids do not have the manual dexterity to brush their teeth by themselves until they can tie their own shoes. So please help your kiddos and take a turn and go over it for them. It is correlated – the longer you brush and floss their teeth for them, the less cavities they will get!


Dental caries remains the most common chronic disease of childhood, more than four times more prevalent than asthma. National surveys report that more than 50% of children still experience caries in their primary teeth. National surveys have reported that 41% of 2-11-year-olds had dental caries in their primary teeth and 42% of 6-19-year-olds had caries in their permanent teeth. The National Center for Health Statistics reports an even higher prevalence: (i) 23% of 2-5-year-olds; (ii) 56% of 6-8-year-olds; and 58% experiencing caries in their permanent teeth during adolescence. Early dental visits can prevent suffering, reduce dollars spent on future surgical and emergency dental services, and maximize the chances for children to grow up with healthy, happy smiles, even if they are what we call, “age appropriate,” at the dentist.