Yes, oral hygiene can start this early! I recommend using a soft cloth to clean the baby's gums on a daily basis. This gets them used to having someone else clean their mouth and helps establish a regular brushing routine.
This period is the foundation for setting healthy habits when it comes to brushing and flossing. From one to two years of age it is the parent's job to brush the child's teeth. By the age of three, I would encourage the child to brush first and the parent to follow up after. This will aid in the transition to Dr. Thompson in providing them with professional care in the office.
During this time, most kids will lose their remaining baby teeth and their permenent teeth will come in. It is essential that they develop good brushing and flossing habits, especially since they may have orthodontics (braces) during this period, which makes it very difficult to keep everything clean. The parent should still check on their brushing at this point, moving them towards independence.
Oh boy. If you are a parent of a teenager, you know that it is hard to get most of them to do anything, much less spend quality time brushing. I have seen it all - kids with excellent care and some with what looks like a flock of fuzzy sheep sitting on their teeth (ewww). I would encourage you to do your best in motivating them, as poor hygiene at this stage can set them up for cavities and gum disease later in life.
We recommend sealants for all adult molars with deep grooves. A sealant is a white resin (similar to a filling) that is put into the pits and fissures of teeth. This keeps bacteria out of places in the tooth where the brush cannot clean. For more information, ask Dr. Thompson at your child's regular checkup. The ADA website also has a good article on dental sealants here.