Toothpaste—A Food Group?
Before your baby sprouts his first tooth you should begin a tooth-brushing routine by wiping his gums with a wet washcloth each day, and by the time he's 2, twice-a-day brushing should be the norm. Although toddlers are not the most efficient cleaners, allow your child to put the toothpaste on the brush and do his best at brushing, then spit (or swallow) and rinse his toothbrush. Giving him the responsibility of being a big person will make this activity less of a chore and may make him more willing to open up for you to get a few swipes in at the end. Don't let your little one use whitening toothpastes, as they could sting his mouth, and don't let him swallow more than a tiny drop of children's toothpaste since too much fluoride can cause white spots on kid's teeth, a condition known as fluorosis.
True Life Tale: My kids think brushing their teeth is so much fun that they'll spend 10 minutes doing it. (Getting the flip-top off the toothpaste tube takes up a nice chunk of that time.) That gives me time to put on makeup and dry my hair in the mirror right behind them as I supervise their valiant attempts at dental hygiene.