an infant crawling on its stomach

When to Start Brushing Baby’s Teeth

Team Pediatric Dentistry

Like many parents, you may be wondering when you should start brushing your baby's teeth. Pediatric dentists generally recommend that you begin brushing when the first tooth comes through the gums. But when it comes to when and how to brush baby teeth, there's more to consider.

It's never too early to begin caring for your child's oral health. Gum health is important even before a baby's teeth start to appear. When the baby is still in the womb, the teeth are already developing beneath the gums. Early dental care will maintain the unerupted teeth and help ensure that they come in correctly.

Follow this early oral care timeline to give your infant the best possible start.

Gum Care: 0-3 Months

Before the age of three months, most babies will have no teeth. Even if there are no teeth, cleaning the gums daily is a good idea. A clean, wet washcloth or a soft-bristled infant toothbrush can be used. Some baby toothbrushes are made of soft rubber and are designed to fit over your finger to apply gentle pressure. When the first tooth appears, a little smear of fluoride toothpaste applied twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush is recommended.

Continue Gum Care and Begin Tooth Brushing: 3-6 Months

Many newborns will still have no teeth at this age, but others will begin to develop teeth by six months. At this age, continue to wipe the gums with a washcloth or use an infant toothbrush. Brushing the gums of a teething baby might help alleviate pain and promote tooth eruption. Brush your baby's teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a dab of fluoride toothpaste if any have appeared by this age.

Continue Gum Care and Begin Tooth Brushing: 6-9 Months

By this stage, your baby is likely to have at least one or two teeth that have erupted. But it’s totally normal for your baby to not have any teeth yet at this age. Continue brushing the gums once a day if no teeth are visible above the gum line. If one or two teeth have erupted, brush them twice a day with a small smear of fluoride toothpaste on an infant toothbrush.

Brush Those New Teeth: 9-12 Months

Your baby's teeth have likely emerged through the gums by now. Brush those teeth twice a day, using only a dab of fluoride toothpaste, as well as the gums where no teeth are visible. There's no need to be concerned if your baby still doesn't have any teeth by their first birthday. Regardless of how many teeth your baby has, it's time to consider scheduling their first dental appointment at this age.

Keep Brushing and Seeing Your Dentist: 12-18 Months

As your baby's mouth fills with teeth, it's important to maintain a regular brushing practice using fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Encourage your child to spit after brushing. Make an appointment with your dentist to discuss delayed tooth eruption if your infant still has no teeth at 18 months.

Encourage Self Care with Assistance: 3-6 Years

At this age, your child should begin brushing their teeth on their own. Increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste used on an age-appropriate toothbrush to a pea-sized amount. At this age, you’ll still need to assist your child to ensure they’re brushing correctly. Encourage your child to spit out any excess toothpaste instead of swallowing it.

Put Your Infant On the Path to Oral Health 

Dental Buddies of Vero Beach can help you start your baby on the path to dental health.

Beginning your child's dental care at a young age ensures a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Make an appointment with us when your child's first tooth appears or before their first birthday. We work with the tiniest of patients regularly and have the essential experience to put them at ease.

To book your initial visit or make an appointment, call 772-226-6888 today. We look forward to helping your child establish a strong foundation for a lifetime of dental health.