When you become a parent, you immediately have to make another human's health and happiness your main priority. It can be overwhelming for a parent to worry about how much to feed a baby, how a baby is growing, and any illnesses that a baby may have. If you are a parent of a new baby, don't forget about your infant's oral health. Starting good habits from a young age can help ensure that your child has healthy gums and teeth as he or she grows up. Use the following tips to take care of your infant's mouth:

Begin Cleaning Baby's Mouth as Early as Possible

Many parents don't start paying attention to a baby's oral hygiene until he or she begins getting teeth, but the earlier you start an oral hygiene routine, the better. In a very young infant who doesn't have teeth, simply use a clean piece of wet gauze or a very soft, white towel to gently clean the gums after a feeding. In addition to removing buildup and bacteria from baby's gums, cleaning your young infant's mouth will also help him or her get used to having to have his or her teeth brushed.

Don't Let Baby Fall Asleep with a Bottle

Most people think of sugary juice drinks as being bad for a child's teeth (and they are), but breast milk and formula are also high in sugar and can cause damage to a baby's new teeth if he or she is allowed to fall asleep with a bottle. Typically, if a baby falls asleep with a bottle, some of the milk will not be swallowed, and instead it will pool on the surface of the teeth. The sugars in the milk feed bacteria that cause tooth decay; infants who regularly fall asleep with a bottle are very prone to serious tooth decay, which is commonly called "baby bottle rot". You best bet is to never allow your baby to have a bottle to fall asleep with, but if your child is already has that habit, consider filling the bottle with a little bit of water instead of breast milk or formula.

Get to the Dentist on Time

According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, a child should have his or her first dental exam by the time he or she turns one year of age. Consider taking your child to a pediatric dentist while he or she is young; pediatric dentists, like those at Apollo Dental Center, typically have extra training in treating very young patients, so your child's appointment my go smoother if you visit a dentist who specializes in caring for infants and toddlers.