Baby Tooth Brushing Guide: When and How to Start for Healthy Smiles

Baby Tooth Brushing

Learn when and how to start brushing your baby’s teeth for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Tips on tools, routines, and promoting good oral habits.

When and How to Start Tooth Brushing for Babies: A Comprehensive Guide


As parents, it’s essential to prioritize the health and well-being of little ones is a top priority. One crucial aspect of early childhood care is establishing proper dental hygiene habits from the very beginning. Toothbrushing plays a significant role in maintaining your baby’s oral health. In this guide, we’ll delve into when and how to start toothbrushing for babies, setting them on the path to a lifetime of healthy smiles.

When to Start Tooth Brushing For Babies:

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that it is advisable to begin a proper oral hygiene routine when your baby’s first tooth emerges, typically around six months. It is an essential milestone, as baby teeth play a crucial role in speech development, chewing, and maintaining space for permanent teeth.

Before the First Tooth:

Before the First Tooth

Before the first tooth erupts, cleaning your baby’s gums after each feeding is essential. I suggest gently cleaning your baby’s gums using a soft silicone finger brush or a damp cloth. This practice not only helps to remove milk residue but also introduces your baby to the sensation of oral care.

Selecting the Right Tools:

Baby Toothbrush: Once that first tooth appears, invest in a baby-sized toothbrush with soft bristles. Look for a brush specifically designed for infants, often labeled as “baby,” “infant,” or “first toothbrush.”

Toothpaste: (Optional) fluoride-free toothpaste specially formulated for babies. Fluoride-free toothpaste is safe to swallow and reduces the risk of your baby ingesting too much fluoride.

Establishing the Routine:

Gentle Approach: 

Start by making toothbrushing a positive and pleasant experience. Choose a calm time of day when your baby is relaxed, perhaps after a bath or during a playful moment.

Tiny Amount of Toothpaste: 

Apply a rice-sized smear of fluoride-free toothpaste to the toothbrush. Gently brush the tooth, focusing on the front and back surfaces. As more teeth erupt, you can gradually increase the amount of toothpaste to a pea-sized portion.

Parental Supervision:

 Babies lack the skill to brush their teeth effectively. As a parent, you’ll need to do the brushing for them. Gently hold your baby’s head in your lap or knee to help access their mouth comfortably.

Two Times a Day: Aim for twice-daily brushing sessions – once in the morning and once before bedtime. This routine helps instill the importance of consistent dental care from an early age.

Promoting Healthy Habits:

Lead by Example: Babies often mimic their parents’ actions. Allow your baby to observe you brushing your teeth, making it a family activity.

Avoid Sugary Drinks: Limit sugary beverages and avoid giving your baby juice or sweetened drinks in a bottle, especially at bedtime. These can lead to early tooth decay.

First Dental Visit: Schedule your baby’s first dental visit by their first birthday. This visit establishes a positive relationship with the dentist and helps monitor your baby’s oral development.


Starting toothbrushing for your baby is essential to their overall health and well-being. By initiating a proper oral hygiene routine as soon as that first tooth appears, you establish the basis for a lifetime of good dental practices. The process concerns cleaning teeth and introducing your baby to positive oral care experiences. Remember that every baby is unique, so adapt the routine to suit your baby’s comfort and preferences. With your care and guidance, your baby will embrace toothbrushing as a natural and enjoyable part of their daily routine.

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