Parents want the best they can provide for children. Dental care is one need, and it is important to start your child's oral health maintenance correctly. I will discuss a few key points, and your general dentist or pedodontist can provide further information.
For an infant, clean the gums and erupting teeth with a wet washcloth or soft toothbrush. As more teeth erupt, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the soft toothbrush in a gentle, light brushing action. If you put an infant to bed with a bottle, make it water only.
"First visit by the first birthday" is the advice of pediatric specialists. This is to establish an early prevention program for your child. A visit every six months thereafter is recommended.
Teething pain from six months to three years old, on average, can be alleviated with a teething ring, cold wet washcloth, a chilled teething ring or massaging the gums. Avoid using a lot of gel products.
Thumb or finger-sucking is common, but should stop by age four. If allowed to continue, it can create crowded or protruded permanent teeth. Your dentist can help if this is a problem.
Diet is very important. Your child needs a balanced diet, not overloaded with carbohydrates. The "carbs" come in the form of sugars (in processed juices, fruit roll ups, candies and jellies) and starches (in potato chips, bread, crackers, pretzels and pasta). These carbs will make your child more susceptible to cavities. Gum and soda should be limited and sugar-free.
In summary beware of frequent snacking, brush well two or three times a day, floss once daily, and use a flouride toothpaste. Go to your dentist's office every six months, and he/she may recommend sealants and flouride treatments.