A baby's teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth. By the time decay is noticed, it may be too late to save thhe child's teeth. You can prevent this from happening to your child's teeth by learning how to protect them.

*After each feeding, wipe the child's teeth and gums with a damp cloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. Continue this practice until most of the primary teeth have come through the gums. Then begin brushing and flossing the child's teeth. Use a soft brush.

*Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices or sweetened liquids.

*If you child needs a comforter between regular feedings, at night or during naps, fill a nursing bottle with cool water or give the child a clean pacificer recommended by your dentist or pediatrician. (Never give your child a pacificer dipped in any sweet liquid.)

*Avoid filling your child's nursing bottle with liquids such as sugar water, sweetened gelatin or soft drinks.

*Make sure your child gets the fluoride needed for decay-resistant teeth. If your local water supply does not contain the right amount of fluoride, ask your dentist how your child should get fluoride.

*Start dental visits before your child's second birthday and make them regularly. If you suspect that your child has dental problems, take the child to see a dentist as soon as possible.