How many moms get around to wiping their baby's gums with a damp washcloth? Only about 6 percent, according to our Babytalk.com poll. Little-kid cavities are on the rise again, so you don't want to completely ignore the experts' advice. But you don't have to go nuts either. Here, teeth tips for the rest of us:
Gum control: Aim to wipe them once or twice a day. "Early oral care is about routine and getting your baby used to having something in his mouth to clean it," says David Krol, M.D., head of pediatrics at the University of Toledo in Ohio.
Better brushing: Once your tot sprouts a tooth, switch to a baby-size toothbrush with extra soft bristles. The ideal: Clean all five surfaces (think of the tooth as a box) and the gum line. We say: If you're making brush-to-tooth contact, you're doing fine.
Toothpaste timing: You don't need it before age 2; until then, just moisten the brush with water. But if Junior wants to be like you, offer him a kids' fluoride-free brand (swallowing fluoride isn't safe).
Chomper checkups: Experts recommend that you take your baby to a dentist around age 1. If you can't get to it yet, ask your pediatrician to check out your baby's teeth at the next well visit.