mother holding young daughter in front of mirror, holding toothbrushes

The Right Way to Clean Your Baby’s Teeth

Are you wondering about early dental care for your baby? First time parents don’t always know how or when to care for their baby’s teeth. That’s okay; it’s never too early or too late to start. Whether your baby has one or a few teeth in place or none at all yet, there are still oral hygiene practices that can help your baby’s teeth and mouth stay healthy. 

Here is the right way to clean your baby’s teeth. 

Step 1: Gum Cleaning

You may think that if your baby doesn’t have any teeth yet, there’s nothing you need to be doing. But at this stage, you should be cleaning your baby’s gums at least once a day or after each feeding. This is done using a clean, wet washcloth or a silicone/rubber finger brush. No toothpaste is used for gum cleaning. 

Why is gum cleaning important? It helps to remove bacteria from the grooves and folds in your baby’s gums. Babies also enjoy the feeling of the washcloth or finger brush on their gums. It may help to soothe teething discomfort as well. 

Step 2: Cleaning the First Tooth

Your baby’s first tooth may appear when they are around 6 months old. Some babies get teeth before 6 months and others may not get teeth until they are a year old or older. But once that first tooth comes through the gums, it’s time to start cleaning it. You can use the same method to clean the first tooth as you used to clean the gums: a clean, wet washcloth or a rubber/silicone finger brush. 

You can also use a soft bristled infant toothbrush and a very small dab of fluoride toothpaste to clean the first tooth. 

Step 3: Brushing New Teeth

As each new tooth comes in, brushing those teeth becomes even more important. The more teeth your baby has, the more opportunities for bacteria and plaque to build up in between them and cause decay. 

Brush your baby’s teeth with a soft bristled infant toothbrush and a very small dab of fluoride toothpaste. Do this at least twice a day, especially after the last feeding of the day before your baby goes to sleep for the night. 

Step 4: First Visit to the Dentist

Children should see the dentist for the first time within 6 months of their first tooth erupting or around their first birthday. 

The purpose of the first visit is to examine the mouth and any teeth that have erupted to ensure there are no signs of early decay or dental problems. A very brief teeth cleaning may be done if your baby is comfortable with it. The ultimate goal is to establish a positive view of going to the dentist from an early age. 

Is Toothpaste Safe For My Baby? 

One of the biggest questions about brushing a baby’s teeth is whether or not you should use fluoride toothpaste. Dentists recommend using a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) from the time your baby’s first tooth comes in. You can even tilt your baby forward slightly while brushing so that any remaining toothpaste will dribble out of their mouth. 

Is Your Baby Ready For Their First Visit? Contact Arrowhead Dental Associates 

If your baby is a year old or has had at least one tooth for 6 months or more, it’s time for their first dental visit. Arrowhead Dental Associates is a family practice that sees patients of all ages from babies through adults. The whole family can receive dental care at one convenient location. 

Call 401-364-6300 today to schedule a visit or request an appointment. We look forward to helping your baby get the right start to a lifetime of dental health.