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Brush Baby's Gums?
Q: When should I brush my baby's gums? I have purchased the baby Oragel gum cleaner and I was wondering if I should use it on my son. My son is four months and one week old.
A: You do not need to use any type of cleanser on your baby's gums. Before the teeth appear, there is nothing special that you need to do to the gums. Once teeth appear, you should wipe them with gauze or brush them with a soft toothbrush (without paste) at the end of the day.
By age two, you should have a regular routine of brushing the teeth with a small amount of paste, at least once a day, before going to bed. You will need to do most of the brushing, since children have a hard time reaching all the tooth surfaces at this age.
By age three, the teeth should be brushed twice a day, after breakfast and at bedtime. Make sure you use only a small amount of toothpaste, as children this age usually swallow some of it, and you don't want them to get too much fluoride. Somewhere between two and three years of age is when a child should go to the dentist for her first visit.
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Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.