Caring for Baby Teeth

Check out my pearly whites!

Check out my pearly whites!

So far I’ve heard varying advice on when to take your baby for his first dental check up, ranging from when the first tooth appears to when he turns two.  Frances has five teeth now, and it just occurred to me that we might need to start thinking about her dental health.

Taking her to the dentist now seems drastic, but it’s probably time to think about brushing. A quick Amazon search for Infant Toothbrush returns so many different types of teeth-cleaning devices, I don’t know where to begin. Do we start with a finger toothbrush? Or a silicone toothbrush? Or should we start right away with a toothbrush with bristles, since that’s what she’ll use eventually?

And what about training toothpaste? Is it good enough to just use water at this point?

When did you start caring for your baby’s teeth? Do you recommend a certain kind of toothbrush? Do she really need toothpaste? Inquiring minds want to know!


  1. Elizabeth Turnbeaugh says

    1 year and younger you can just wipe them clean with a washcloth . We just started brushing Harper’s two teeth with a bristled toothbrush and water. I typically educated my patient’s to start dental exams at the age of 2. I definitely think 1 is too early. We will probably schedule Harper for her 1st exam by 18 months unless I start noticing problems. Hope that helps.

  2. My pediatrician recommended the finger brush after the first two teeth came through, as the bristles are softer than a traditional brush. I was also advised no toothpaste, water is fine. I doubt it makes a huge difference, but it at least gets us into the habit (and baby gets used to the idea). In fact, baby kind of likes the squeakiness! It’s a score to me if we just have a positive experience.

  3. Thanks for the tips! Frances loves to grind her teeth because of the sound it makes, so she would probably enjoy a squeaking brushing. We always have a washcloth handy at feedings to wipe her face, so I’m going to try and remember to use it on her teeth at the end of the meal.

  4. Our dentist gave us one of these for our 15 month old, the baby loves it. Of course, she’ll only “let” her father brush her teeth without fussing but:

  5. I’ve given my little girl that Safety Toothbrush to chew on, on difficult teething days, to her delight.

  6. Coriander, I’ve seen other nubby gum massagers for use during teething, but I couldn’t figure out how my 9 month old would be able to use it with out tickling her tonsils. The Safety Toothbrush looks like a great alternative! I have a dentist appointment in a few days, so I’m going to ask my dentist if he has any freebies.

  7. I asked my dentist about this when Audrey was a baby, and he said we could wait until she was three or four. I believe she was four when I first brought her in. So this sounds like the older end of the spectrum for the first dental exam. . . .

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