Keeping Your Baby’s Mouth Healthy

Tiny Teeth Do Big Jobs

Even though baby teeth last for a few years — they are still critical to development and require proper care. Baby teeth contribute to:

  • Proper jaw growth and bite alignment (these first teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth)
  • Good nutrition
  • Normal speech development
  • Gum health

Bottles and Sippy Cups

  • Avoid constant use of a sippy cup, unless it is filled with water.
  • If your child uses a bottle at naps or bedtime, fill it with water only.
  • Wean your child from a bottle at 12-18 months.


Babies can begin teething anytime between 3-12 months. A toddler’s full set of 20 baby teeth usually comes in by age 3. Signs that your baby is teething include fussiness and drooling. You may even be able to feel the teeth pushing through the gums. Comfort your teething baby with a cool, firm, clean object such as a teething ring or a slightly frozen washcloth. Gently rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger.

Cleaning Your Baby’s Teeth 

  • Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth.
  • When your child’s teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and water. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
  • For children older than 2, brush their teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Be sure they spit out the toothpaste. (If you are considering using fluoridated toothpaste before age 2, be sure to check with us during your visit.)
  • When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing daily.

Baby’s First Visit to the Dentist

As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule a dental visit. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that the first dental visit take place within six months after the first tooth appears, but no later than a child’s first birthday.

Although the first visit is mainly for the dentist to examine your child’s mouth to check growth and development, it’s also about your child being comfortable. Be sure to stay positive about the visit because children can pick up on your emotions, so keep anxiety and concerns to yourself.