It is good to begin before they even get their first tooth. Gently wipe off the gums and tongue after each feeding with a warm, wet wash cloth wrapped around your finger. You also can buy thimble-like, soft rubbery devices that fit over your index finger.
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. If your child continuously goes to sleep with milk or other liquids in the mouth, tooth decay (cavities) can develop.
Once the child has teeth, a small infant toothbrush can be used to clean the teeth.
Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then use a pea-size dollop. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively and therefore need assistance. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste.
Most children stop thumb and pacifier sucking habits on their own, and it does not become a problem. However, if your child is still sucking thumbs or fingers or using a pacifier past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended to help stop the habit. If the behavior continues past this point, the development of the upper jaw can be affected.
Call your dentist, and give the child a combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen (Tylenol), if he or she has no issues with these pain relievers. Visit the ER or an urgent care center, if necessary (especially if areas are swollen).