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7 Things to Know Before You Start Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth

Baby Care
Rakshitha S

Sep 25, 2023

As the baby grows, so do their dental requirements. Although it may seem premature to consider dental care for your infant, it is never too early to lay the foundation for a healthy smile. It is crucial for your child’s overall health and well-being that they develop excellent oral hygiene practices at an early age. 

This article will discuss the fundamentals of brushing your baby’s teeth before you begin. By understanding these essentials, you can ensure that your baby’s dental care gets off to an excellent start.


When to Start Brushing Baby’s Teeth

When you begin cleaning the baby’s teeth, it affects their oral health. Dental maintenance should start before the eruption of the first tooth. A few days after birth, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends commencing oral hygiene practices. 

Your baby’s gums can be delicately cleaned with a clean, damp washcloth or a soft infant toothbrush and water. Start brushing with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste when the first tooth erupts, generally around six months. Developing good oral hygiene practices at a young age result in enduring dental health.


How to Choose an Appropriate Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Your child’s oral health depends on their toothbrush and toothpaste. Choose a toothbrush for babies and toddlers with soft bristles and a compact head. Toothbrushes with non-slip grasp handles are simple to hold. Choose a fluoride-approved toothpaste for your baby’s teeth. 

A rice-sized amount of toothpaste is sufficient for children under two. A pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is recommended for children ages two to five. Avoid giving your infant toothpaste with strong flavors or additives. Remember that your child’s pediatric dentist can suggest the finest toothbrush and toothpaste for your child.


How to Brush Your Baby’s Teeth

Maintaining your child’s oral health requires brushing their teeth regularly. To handle your infant, begin by squatting or laying them down while supporting their head. To clean their teeth, it is recommended to use a finger brush or a baby toothbrush with soft bristles. Using tiny circular motions is suggested for effectively tending teeth and gums.

Thoroughly clean each tooth with a strong focus on sanitation. Brush your baby’s teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. You can use songs, games, or a favorite toy to make brushing more enjoyable. 

It is essential to encourage your child to brush their teeth regularly once they start to do it on their own. Still, it is also important to supervise them to ensure they use the proper technique to brush their teeth independently. 


Best Tips for Overcoming Challenges in Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth

Overcoming challenges when it comes to brushing your baby’s teeth is important to ensure consistent oral care. Several tips can make the process easier if your baby resists or refuses to brush their teeth. 

  • Establish a routine and make brushing a part of their daily schedule. Use positive reinforcement and compliments to promote cooperation.
  • Make the experience enjoyable by using colorful toothbrushes or playing their favorite song during brushing time. If teething discomfort is a concern, try using a chilled teething ring or gently massaging their gums before brushing. 
  • If your baby continues to resist, consider seeking advice from a pediatric dentist who can provide guidance tailored to your baby’s specific needs. 

Patience and persistence are key when facing challenges in brushing your baby’s teeth. Establishing good oral hygiene habits early on will benefit your baby’s dental health in the long run.


Best Cleaning Techniques for the Gums and Tongue of Your Baby

Parent brushing the baby's teeth

Cleaning the gums and tongue of your baby is an essential aspect of their oral hygiene routine. Even before teeth emerge, you can clean your baby’s gums by gently wiping them with a clean, damp washcloth or a soft infant toothbrush. This helps remove bacteria and residue from their gums. 

As new teeth come in, continue cleaning their gums and new teeth. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a tongue cleaner specifically designed for babies when cleaning the tongue. Gently brush or scrape the tongue from back to front to remove bacteria or debris

Incorporating these cleaning techniques for gums and tongues promotes a healthy oral environment for your baby and helps establish good oral hygiene habits from an early age.


Tips on Establishing Healthy Dental Habits for Your Baby

Establishing healthy dental habits for your baby is essential for their long-term oral health. 

  • Start by introducing healthy eating habits and limiting sugary snacks and drinks, as they can contribute to tooth decay.
  • Encourage the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products that promote strong teeth. 
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups for your baby, starting around their first birthday, to monitor their oral health and address any concerns. 
  • Make brushing and flossing a part of their daily routine, and lead by example by demonstrating proper oral hygiene practices. Teach them how to brush their teeth effectively and supervise their brushing until they can do it independently. 
  • Create a positive and fun dental experience using age-appropriate toothbrushes and flavored toothpaste and rewarding good oral care habits. By establishing healthy dental habits early on, you set the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health for your baby.


Common Mistakes to Avoid Bad Oral Health for Your Baby

When brushing your baby’s teeth, there are common mistakes to avoid for optimal oral care. Here are the following mistakes you should avoid: 

  • For children under the age of two, a smear the size of a grain of rice is sufficient, and for children aged two to five, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is recommended. Using an excessive amount can lead to swallowing excess fluoride, which can be harmful. 
  • Ensure you brush not only the front but also the back and chewing surfaces of your baby’s teeth. Neglecting to clean all tooth surfaces can cause tooth decay even if you brush your baby’s teeth consistently. 
  • Replacing toothbrushes regularly every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed, is important. Using an old or worn-out toothbrush can be less effective at cleaning your baby’s teeth. 

Avoiding these common mistakes ensures your baby receives proper oral care and good dental health.



My baby is teething. How can I make brushing more comfortable for them?

The teething process can be complicated for infants, and cleaning their teeth may cause discomfort. To make the experience more pleasant, try massaging their gums with a chilled teething ring or a clean, damp cloth before brushing. Consider using a gel recommended by your pediatrician to dull the gums temporarily during teething.

What should I do if my baby resists brushing or cries?

It is common for infants to resist being brushed or to cry during the procedure. Create a fun and interactive experience to make brushing more delightful. Sing a song, employ a soft tone, or use a small object or mirror to distract and engage your infant. Consult a pediatric dentist for advice if your child consistently refuses to clean.

Are there any signs of dental problems I should watch out for in my baby?

Examine the teeth for signs of tooth decay, such as discoloration, patches, or pitting. Additionally, watch for gum inflammation, foul odor, and other changes in your baby's oral health. Consult a pediatric dentist for appropriate guidance and treatment if you observe any concerns.



Your baby’s health and well-being depend on regular dental care from birth. With the proper guidance and a consistent regimen, you can help your child develop healthy dental hygiene habits that will last a lifetime. If you follow the advice in this blog, your baby will have strong teeth and healthy gums from the start.

When you make dental care a top priority for your child from birth, you’re protecting their teeth and teaching them lifelong good habits. If you want your child to have a beautiful and healthy smile for life, you should begin early, maintain consistency, and relish the experience.

Remember, if you have any specific queries or concerns about your baby’s oral health, it is always best to consult a pediatric dentist. Your pediatric dentist can provide personalized advice and recommendations regarding your child’s dental health.

Rakshitha S

Rakshitha's goal is to empower parents to make confident decisions about their baby's care and well-being. She believes that every parent deserves access to high-quality, reliable information, and is committed to providing that through her writing and expertise.

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