Taking Care of Your Baby’s Oral Health

Taking good care of your baby’s mouth and teeth is important. A baby’s first tooth usually comes in at around age 6 to 10 months. Healthy primary (baby) teeth help children chew food and speak clearly.

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small baby boy laughing

Tips for keeping your baby’s mouth and teeth healthy:

  • Cleaning your baby’s gums and teeth
    • Clean your baby’s gums even before you can see the first tooth. Use a clean, damp washcloth to wipe the gums. Do this twice a day, especially after night feeding. 
    • After your baby’s first tooth comes in, use a baby toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. Put a smear (size of a grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush, and brush all sides of your baby’s teeth.
    • Brush your baby’s teeth in the morning and before bedtime.
  • Using bottles and sippy cups
    • Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup filled with breast milk, infant formula, fruit juice, or other liquids besides water. Liquids that contain sugar can cause tooth decay.
  • Using pacifiers
    • Clean the pacifier with soap and water.
    • Never clean a pacifier in your mouth before giving it to your baby. Germs that cause tooth decay can pass from your mouth to your baby’s mouth.
    • If the pacifier gets worn out or breaks, get a new one.
    • Do not dip the pacifier in sweet foods like sugar, honey, or syrup.
    • Never put a pacifier on a string or ribbon around your baby’s neck. It could choke your baby.
Use a smear of fluoride toothpaste
Use a smear of fluoride toothpaste.

Photos requiring credits: Cristian Bernal / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND (first photo)

Topic:Oral Health

Keywords:Dental care

Resource Type: Publication

National Centers: Early Childhood Health and Wellness

Audience: Families

Last Updated: February 4, 2019