The American Dental Association recommends the following for good oral hygiene, right from the start:

*Begin cleaning the baby's mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe the baby's gums with a clean gauze pad. This removes plaque (a sticky film of bacteria) and residual food that can harm erupting teeth.

*As soon as teeth appear in the mouth, tooth decay can occur. Therefore, when your child's teeth begin to erupt, brush them gently with a child's size toothbrush and water. Brush the teeth of children over age two with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Be sure they spit out the toothpaste and rinse with water. (Ask your child's dentist or physician if you are considering using fluoride toothpaste before age two.)

*Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottle before going to bed. If you use a pacifier, use a clean one. Never dip a pacifier in sugar or honey before giving it to a baby. (Ask your child's physician or dentist to recommend a type of pacifier.)