If you have a newborn, especially if you’re a first-time parent, you are worried and frazzled and very sleep deprived. You are trying to provide your child with the best life possible, and you want them to be happy and healthy. Since your child’s teeth won’t start coming in until later, however, you might be overlooking a very important part of their health: their teeth. Here is a quick guide to taking care of your baby’s teeth, even before they start to come in.

Prenatal Care
Although teeth might not erupt until your baby is about six months old, that does not mean that their teeth don’t exist. In fact, baby teeth are already forming when your child is still in the womb. It is important to be eating a balanced diet and getting enough vitamins and minerals for proper tooth development—and you should be doing these things already anyway.

Make sure that you visit the dentist regularly. You will want any problems taken care of as soon as possible.

Baby’s First Dentist Appointment
When it comes to firsts, this isn’t one you think of often. You have probably recorded baby’s first tooth information, but did you think to take your child to the dentist? Once an infant is 6 months old, it’s time for him or her to have their teeth examined. The first time can be by your baby’s doctor. He or she will look for potential problems, using your dental history as a guide. If the doctor sees potential problems see a dentist either 6 months after the first teeth come in or by baby’s first birthday.

Don’t worry about taking your baby to the dentist. There are many pediatric dentists out there who specialize specifically in child and infant dental care.

Cleaning Baby’s Teeth
Even before baby has teeth, you should be keeping their mouth clean. This involves “brushing” their gums or teeth with gauze or cloth to help remove plaque. As you probably kiss your baby and share utensils, make sure that your own mouth is relatively clean from bacteria and infections. One thing that is very important for your child’s teeth is to never put them to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. The sugars in these and other drinks can cause tooth decay, otherwise known as bottle mouth. This especially effects the front top teeth.