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.
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.
Photos requiring credits: Cristian Bernal / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND (first photo)
Resource Type: Publication
National Centers: Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety
Series: Healthy Habits for Happy Smiles
Last Updated: April 26, 2023