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Cleaning Baby's Mouth

You can start taking care of your baby’s oral health even before your little one’s teeth come in. Cavities can happen as soon as the first tooth pokes through, so it’s important to clean infant teeth and gums regularly.

Get Started with Cleaning

Before teeth begin to come in, gently clean your baby’s gums with a clean soft cloth after each feeding. This will help your baby get used to having their gums (and later teeth) cleaned.

As soon as your baby’s teeth start to come in, begin to clean their teeth and gums with a small soft toothbrush and a smear of fluoridated toothpaste—about as big as a grain of rice.

Tips to Make Cleaning Easier

  • Try placing your baby’s head in your lap to make it easier to brush. Gently stabilize your baby’s head. Lift or lightly press your baby’s lips away from the teeth.
  • Use a small soft toothbrush.
  • Brush every surface of your baby’s teeth. Move the brush in tiny circles. You can use a clean damp cloth instead of a brush if you and your baby prefer.
  • Use a smear of fluoridated toothpaste—about as big as a grain of rice.

Prevent Early Decay at Nap Time and Bedtime

If you give your baby a bottle or sippy cup at nap time or bedtime, be sure it contains water only. Juice, formula, milk ,and breast milk can cause tooth decay.

Protect Your Baby From the Germs That Cause Tooth Decay

Be careful not to put things—food, pacifiers, utensils—in your mouth and then in your baby’s mouth. Many parents “clean” pacifiers by putting them in their mouths and then giving them back to their babies, but cavity-causing germs are easily passed to infants and toddlers this way. Germs can also be shared when parents test food or share utensils with their child.

No matter how careful you are, your baby will get some of your germs, so keeping the germs down by taking care of YOUR oral health is important.