Skip to content

    Health & Baby

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Caring for Your Baby's Teeth

    After weeks of watching your baby drool and fuss, you finally spot that first little tooth bud popping up through the gums. Over the next couple of years, your baby's gummy smile will gradually be replaced by two rows of baby teeth.

    Baby teeth may be small, but they're important. They act as placeholders for adult teeth. Without a healthy set of baby teeth, your child will have trouble chewing and speaking clearly. That's why caring for baby teeth and keeping them decay-free is so important.

    Caring for Baby's Gums

    You can start caring for baby's gums right away. But at first, the care won't involve a toothbrush and toothpaste. Instead, take these steps:

    • Get a soft, moistened washcloth or piece of gauze.
    • Gently wipe down your baby's gums at least twice a day.
    • Especially wipe your baby's gums after feedings and before bedtime.

    This will wash off bacteria and prevent them from clinging to gums. Bacteria can leave behind a sticky plaque that damages infant teeth as they come in.

    Brushing Baby's Teeth

    When the first baby teeth start to pop up, you can graduate to a toothbrush. Choose one with a:

    • soft brush
    • small head
    • large handle

    At first, just wet the toothbrush. As soon as teeth erupt, you can start using a bit about the size of a grain of rice. You can increase this to a peas sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when your child is 3 years old. Brush gently all around your child's baby teeth -- front and back.

    You should brush your baby's teeth until he or she is old enough to hold the brush. Continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance. That usually happens at around age 6.

    Keep on the lookout for any signs of baby tooth decay -- brown or white spots or pits on the teeth. If you or your pediatrician notices any problems, take your child to a pediatric dentist for an exam.

    Even if there isn't a problem, your child should go for his or her first dentist visit by age 1. The dentist can give you advice about:

    • baby tooth care
    • teething
    • fluoride
    • thumb sucking

     

    Today on WebMD

    mother on phone holding baby
    When you should call 911.
    parents and baby
    Unexpected ways your life will change.
     
    baby acne
    What’s normal – and what’s not.
    baby asleep on moms shoulder
    Help your baby get the sleep he needs.
     

    mother holding baby at night
    ARTICLE
    mother with sick child
    QUIZ
     
    Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
    SLIDESHOW
    Track Your Babys Vaccines
    TOOL
     
    Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
    Slideshow
    Mother with her baby boy
    Article
     
    baby in crib
    Slideshow
    baby gear slideshow
    Slideshow