2017 Essentials with Emily

Oral Hygiene for Baby and Beyond

April 18, 2017

Blog_EssentialsWithEmily_Header_HygieneWhile most little ones don’t sprout their first tooth until around six months, oral hygiene is important even before we see any pearly whites, and long after. Like any healthy practice, it can be hard to develop at first, but it’s always best to start young to form the habit of oral hygiene. After years of taking care of their teeth, my kids don’t question teeth brushing or flossing – though it can still be a pain for us parents if I’m honest!

Gum care

With each stage of development there are different practices for keeping your child’s mouth and teeth clean, starting with their gums in the early months. Keep their toothless grin clean by wiping the gums twice a day – ideally once in the morning, and after their last feed at night. When milk or formula rest on the gums, and eventually the teeth, over night, teeth may decay. Check out the Natural Gum & Tooth Wipes from Jack n Jill, or their Silicone Gum Brush. A baby wash cloth like the MAM Oral Care Rabbit will also do the trick. The goal is to clear away any bacteria, but it will have the added benefit of soothing any teething pain.

Sucking and Pacifying

Habitual and long-term sucking can cause problems for your child’s teeth, especially if the habit continues after baby teeth start to fall out. If your baby uses a soother or drinks from a bottle, it’s a good idea to cut both by age two. Sippy cups with straws, like the ones from Munchkin, keep liquids away from your child’s teeth, and babies can easily begin taking water from them around age one.  Avoid letting your child fall asleep with a bottle in her mouth or nursing to sleep regularly – these soothing practices allow sugar from the milk to decay their teeth and cause cavities. If your baby needs something to suck on to fall asleep, try a bottle with water instead of milk, or a pacifier.


It’s the sweetest thing seeing those first couple of teeth pop through the surface. Suddenly their smile is totally different and time seems to be going by too quickly (like with all major milestones!). As soon as your baby has even one tooth, it’s time for tooth brushing. Start without toothpaste and a small, soft bristled brush, such as the Jack N’ Jill Buzzy Brush or the MAM First Brush. While parents should always brush their baby’s teeth (many dentists encourage this until primary school!), consider getting a child-friendly brush to let your little guy try it out for himself. Having a toy toothbrush is also very helpful in normalizing teeth brushing if your baby is resistant to it. We love the Angel Brush tooth brush or the Banana brush and your baby will too! Make sure toothbrushes, even the toy ones, are always kept in a safe, clean place.


Babies under age two do not need toothpaste. Simple brushing and regular cleaning will be enough for their sprouting teeth. The Canadian Dental Association reminds us that unless a child is at high risk of tooth decay (which is to be determined by a dentist), they do not need fluoride tooth paste until over age three, so make sure you’re using fluoride-free tooth paste, like Jack N’ Jill’s Natural Organic Toothpaste for your little ones. I also love the safe to swallow Happy Mouth Anti-Cavity Rinse  for babies as young as nine months.

Above all, it’s important to visit your dentist regularly and model good oral hygiene for your children. In my case, my kids are now old enough to remind me to floss, and they do regularly! Starting those habits young is so crucial. Save sugary snacks and drinks for special occasions and only offer water before bed; not milk. Before long, you’ll be enduring your children wiggling their loose teeth and hiding teeth for the tooth fairy, all in the blink of an eye.


Emily is a Montreal-based writer and blogger, but most importantly, a mom of three littles (age five and under). She geeks out over cloth diapers, lattes, and will do just about anything to travel. You can find her on Instagram @emmorrice where she profusely overgrams pictures of her meals, kids and city. 


Emily Morrice

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  • Nic

    We started an oral care routine soon after baby was born, just checking the mouth and wiping the gums.

  • Jasmine D

    We started oral care when our little ones either started eating baby food or started cutting teeth whatever one came first

  • Jasmin

    We started oral care once teeth started cutting through the gums. We now brush teeth once in the morning and before bed 🙂

  • Sarah

    I started around 6 months. My DD just sprouted her first tooth at 8 months and will begin brushing regularly.

  • Stephanie

    We started as soon as my daughter got her first tooth around 5 months by wiping with a wet cloth. Now with 16 teeth at 19 months she’s a pro with an electric toothbrush

  • Danielle

    I would start a routine at about 6 months, getting the child used to cleaning their mouth. I would also start getting them into the dentist’s chair early to get them used to that so they won’t become afraid.

  • Casey

    We started wiping our little ones gums around 3 months with a wash cloth however It is only done once a week! I planned on a better/more regular routine once her Teeth started to come in!

  • Beverly Heywood

    Plan to start around 5 months

  • Muhan Wu

    I got the toothpaste and the toothbrush ready and my little one is turning 6 months tomorrow. It’s time to START brushing/massaging her gum.

  • Sara

    I wiped her gums twice a day and she has her own ‘toothbrush’ with rubber bristles that she loves and it helps with teething too!

  • Lacey

    My daughter is almost 16 months now and loves brushing her teeth. We started our oral hygiene routine around 6 months.

  • Nikki Lambertus

    My son is almost 4 months now, I will be starting to brush his gums this week.

  • Elisha Rzeznik

    I plan to start as soon as possible! I didn’t know it was important to start before teeth we’re visible.

  • Erin

    I started to clean my boys gums when they were about 3 months old. We had our first dentist visit just before their first birthdays.

  • Carmela Efstathiou

    I’ve just started wiping my sons gums at 2 months old. My daughter is 4 and we brush, floss and mouthwash every night.

  • Lavi Lavinia

    Started around 10 months but now at 13 months I can’t get my little one to cooperate having teeth brushed. It’s a challenge

  • Christina delgado

    Great article!!! I’m a dental assistant and everything you covered was wonderful! It’s so important to care for our babies teeth from the beginning and teach them good brushing habits!! I’ve been wiping my baby girls gums for months now and last week she finally got her front two lower teeth (mandibular central incisors) and she’s been so great at letting me brush them! She’s only 6 months <3

  • Anna Diaz

    We started the routine when he was 3 months old. He loves it.

  • Beth MacLeod

    We started with a cloth around four months and need to switch to a toothbrush now that tooth one has arrived!

  • Donna

    I plan to start this month as my little one is 5 months old and starting solids.

  • Sabrina

    We started brushing our kids teeth as soon as the first one appeared – around six months. We did use a wet washcloth to wipe gums earlier then that.

  • Jacqueline Man

    We plan to start when the initial teeth starts to grow! Would love to kick in the habit of tooth brushing and avoid future cavities!

  • mlynes

    Tooth brushing will begin shortly after teeth appear but gum care will start once we get into a bit more of a schedule and develop a bedtime routine : )

  • Pau

    Hopefully we can start with the little one when he starts teething. We will use a towel to wipe the gums prior to them teething.

  • Lilly

    I plan to start my baby boy’s oral care routine once his first tooth comes in.

  • Taralyn Buchanan

    We juat recently started oral hygiene with out 6mo because we can see teeth just under the surface.

  • Shade Oluloro

    Such great information! Sometimes I feel lost with so many products on the market.

  • Brianne Graham

    Start brushing when the first tooth comes in! But plan on whipping her gums with a cloth within the first few months. Great info!!

  • Christina Ferri

    We recently started thinking about our little guy’s oral hygiene after our 6 month visit with our pediatrician. Our little one has 2 bottom teeth and we give them and his gums a good wipe each night. He thinks it’s the funniest thing!

  • HE>I

    I want to get prepared for when my baby arrives.

  • Alexander Lim

    Make sure he flosses regularly and brushes his teeth every morning

  • Isabelle

    After reading this we plan on starting ASAP with gum care and then as soon as her first tooth comes in!

  • Michelle G.

    My little man is just cutting his first tooth, so we’ve been wondering how to best take care of his little baby chompers. This post is just what we needed!

  • Stefani

    I plan to start oral care as soon as my little guy gets a tooth. This article was very informative, thank you.

  • Ashley Mahe

    I started from birth, just by wiping my babies gums with a damp cloth every day 🙂

  • Clara Chan

    Started cleaning her gum and tongue since 2nd month after doctor said the milk residue is causing oral infection 🙁

  • Karissa Javier

    Started cleaning my sons tongue and gums from birth by using plain gauze or damp cloth

  • Melissa

    As soon as she gets teeth but I do run her gums every now and then with a wash cloth

  • meghan

    i plan to start once the teeth come in

  • Jenn

    Started here and there a couple months ago (he’s 4mo now) with a washcloth but I’ve been slacking. I think I’ll be more persistent when I see teeth coming in.

  • Angie

    FTM, still expecting my first. I would imagine I would start when we start seeing teeth come in 🙂

  • Vivian WH Lee

    right from the beginning, even without teeth the mouth should be clean!

  • Erika Mano

    I usually wait till i begin seeing testh when i start oral care.. However i have used teethers and little “gummy” toothbrushes to help aid the teeth in coming through :).. Wonderful give away 🙂