Caring For Your Baby’s Gums and Teeth

Congratulations on your bundle of joy!


As we all know, babies do not come with instruction manuals and every milestone(like a first tooth), has many questions that follow.  Below you will find some FAQ’s with regard to oral health in babies.

Should I be cleaning my baby’s gums before any teeth emerge?

Yes.  When your baby does not have their first teeth, bacteria in the mouth cannot harm their gums, but it is a good idea to introduce them to oral care as soon as possible.  Wipe his or her gums with gauze or a soft washcloth during bath time.  Wrap it around your index finger and gently rub it over the gums.  This practice will allow for a smoother transition into tooth brushing when the time comes.  It will also keep you aware of when your baby’s teeth begin to poke through.

Can I give my baby a bottle at bedtime?

No.  When a baby falls asleep with a bottle in their mouth, there is often milk that remains on their teeth.  The sugar in the milk will sit on their teeth all night and feed bacteria.  This causes a condition called early childhood caries (ECC).  If your child prefers a bottle at bedtime, you can provide them one filled with water.

When should I begin taking my baby to the dentist?

Generally, it is recommended to take children within the first 6 mo, or when their first tooth erupts.  Some children don’t start getting their teeth until 15 to 18 months, so don’t worry if you pass the one year mark without any teeth coming through!

How do I brush my baby’s teeth?

Brush twice a day, once in the morning and once before bedtime. Use a baby toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles.  If you would like to use toothpaste, it is generally recommended to wait until your child is able to spit on his/her own.  If you prefer to use toothpaste, use only a tiny amount about the size of a grain of rice.  Many toothpastes marketed for babies do not contain fluoride, but the amount recommended for children under 3 is .25 milligrams per day.  Keep in mind that large amounts of fluoride may cause a condition called fluorosis, where white spots on your child’s adult teeth.

  • Remove bacteria that may cause bad breathe from your babies mouth by brushing gently on the inside as well as the outside of his/her teeth and make sure to include their tongue. Rinsing is not necessary as you are using a small amount of toothpaste.
  • When bristles start to fray or look worn, it is time to replace the toothbrush.

It is recommended by most dentists to begin flossing when the surfaces of the teeth touch and you are no longer able to clean them with a toothbrush. As for now, your baby’s teeth are most likely far enough apart that it is unnecessary to floss.

As always, if you have questions or concerns with regard to your child’s oral health, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 905-634-3665.