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Your kid should start brushing her own teeth as soon as she's willing to try. You can clean them with a wet cloth or gauze until it's time for a tooth brush. Using plain water, gently brush the teeth on both the outside and inside surfaces twice a day.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and most pediatric dentists say it's a good idea to bring your child to a dentist around the time she turns 1 y.o., just in case there's a problem that your family doctor missed or couldn't diagnose. If your child still hasn't sprouted his first tooth by 16 months, or if you notice tooth decay, mention it to your pediatrician, who will likely refer you to a dentist.
Caring for your toddler's teeth is important and it can be a fun bonding experience.