Ask a Dentist continues with this practical Q&A. With February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, pediatric dentist Dr. Eric Ellis answers some questions submitted by our readers and followers.

QUESTION: What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?

DR. ELLIS: A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.

Q: How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

DR. E: “Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday.”

Q: Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?

DR. E: “The sooner the better! Starting at birth, you can clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a "smear" of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a "pea-size" amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s tooth brushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.”


Dr. Eric EllisDr. Eric Ellis graduated from the Case School of Dental Medicine in Cleveland, OH. He is a multiple-office owner dentist of Smile Generation-trusted offices – Norterra Dental Group and Orthodontics in Phoenix, Laveen Modern Dentistry in Laveen, Every Kid’s Dentist in Phoenix and Laveen. When not busy fighting tooth decay, Dr. Ellis loves spending time with his wife, two children, and his French bulldog Daisy. Dr. Ellis’ hobbies include climbing, hiking and weight training at the gym. Connect with Dr. Ellis on his Facebook page.


Please be aware that content provided by “Ask A Dentist,” on this blog, is provided for educational purposes only. Consult your own dentist regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or dental condition.