Newborn Oral Care Guide: Building Healthy Smiles from the Start

Step-by-Step Oral Care for Your Baby

Learn how to care for your baby’s gums and emerging teeth with our step-by-step guide. Establish a gentle routine for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

Step by Step Newborn Oral Care Guide: Healthy Teeth for Your Baby


Taking care of your newborn’s oral health is crucial to their well-being. Although your baby may not have teeth yet, establishing a gentle and effective oral care routine is essential.
Here’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to care for your newborn’s gums and emerging teeth:

Step-by-Step Oral Care for Your Baby

Step 1: Assemble Your Tools

Having the right supplies makes the process smooth and comfortable:

Clean, Damp Washcloth: Use a soft, damp washcloth as the primary tool for cleaning your baby’s gums and emerging teeth.

Silicone Finger Brush (Optional): This convenient tool fits over your finger, simplifying gum and tooth cleaning.

Baby Toothbrush: Choose a baby toothbrush with soft bristles specially designed for infants.

Fluoride-Free Infant Toothpaste (Optional):
While plain water works, some parents use fluoride-free toothpaste for added cleanliness.

Step 2: Select a Calm Moment

Opt for a peaceful time when your baby is awake, alert, and relaxed. After feeding or during a diaper change can be ideal moments for this routine.

Step 3: Get Comfortable

Hold your baby securely, providing adequate head support. Use one hand to cradle their head gently while the other carries out the oral care.

Step 4: Gentle Gum Cleaning

For babies without teeth, focus on cleaning their gums:

Prepare the Washcloth: Ensure the washcloth is clean and slightly damp, without any soap residue.

Finger Brush or Washcloth: Slip a silicone finger brush onto your index finger or wrap the damp washcloth around it.

Circulate Gently: Employ a gentle circular motion to clean your baby’s gums. Begin at the top of the gums and work your way down, covering both the inside and outside of their mouth.

Step 5: Introduce the Toothbrush

Once your baby’s first tooth emerges (typically around six months), introduce a baby toothbrush into the routine.

Step 6: Brushing Technique for Emerging Teeth:

Apply Toothpaste:
Put a tiny smear of fluoride-free infant toothpaste on the baby toothbrush. A rice-sized amount is usually sufficient.

Gentle Brushing:
Employ soft, circular motions to brush the emerging tooth. Angle the bristles toward the gumline where the tooth meets the gum.

Remaining Gums:
Use the damp washcloth or finger brush for areas without teeth to clean the gums thoroughly.

Step 7: Foster a Positive Experience

Ensure this experience is calm and comforting for your baby:

Eye Contact and Smile:
Maintain eye contact and smile reassuringly throughout the routine.

Soothing Sounds:
Sing a soft song or speak softly to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Offer gentle words of encouragement and cuddles to reassure your baby.

Step 8: Practice Patience

Recognize that this might be a new sensation for your baby, and they may express curiosity or mild fussiness. Approach the process patiently and stop if your baby becomes upset.

Step 9: Post-Feeding Cleanup

After every feeding, it is advisable to use a clean and moist washcloth to wipe your baby’s gums and tongue gently. It helps eliminate any residual milk and maintains oral hygiene.

Step 10: Gradual Progress

As more teeth emerge, continue using the gentle brushing technique outlined above. Gradually increase the duration of the routine as your baby becomes more accustomed to it.

Step 11: Establish a Routine

Incorporate this oral care routine into your daily schedule, preferably after a feeding.


Following this comprehensive guide and establishing a gentle oral care routine can pave the way for your newborn’s oral health. This approach fosters good hygiene habits, instills a positive attitude toward oral care, and contributes to a lifetime of healthy smiles. Your attentiveness and care significantly impact your baby’s overall well-being.

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