Oral Health Tips

brushing a child's teethBrushing your baby's teeth

  • Begin brushing your baby's teeth as soon as their first tooth appears
  • Use a soft, baby toothbrush with just a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Brush twice a day; brushing before bed is especially important.
  • Don't miss brushing where the teeth and gums meet!
  • Lift your baby's lip regularly to check for white or brown spots on their teeth. Look closely along the gum line. Call your dentist if you notice anything unusual.
  • Take your baby to see a dentist once their first tooth comes in or by their first birthday.
  • Watch the tooth brushing video.

brushing another child's teethFind a comfortable position

It is often easiest to brush your baby's teeth when the child is lying down. You will see better and do a better job. Try these positions:

  • Hold your baby in your arms in the feeding position.
  • Lay your baby on a change table, making sure they cannot fall off.
  • Place your baby on a couch or bed, with their head in your lap.
  • Lay your baby on the floor with their head on a pillow placed between your legs.

Cleaning your toddler's teeth

  • Use a child-size toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Use a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste; at age three, it should be the size of a pea.
  • Brush twice a day; brushing before bed is especially important.
  • Brush the tongue, the top of the tooth and both sides of the tooth; remember to brush where the teeth and gums meet, too!
  • Brush for about two minutes.
  • Gums that bleed need more brushing to make them healthy.
  • Take your child to the dentist regularly when they reach one year of age.


  • Young children cannot clean their own teeth. Do it for them when they are very young; do it with them as they grow.
  • Children under eight need you to finish brushing for them.
  • Always use toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent tooth decay.
  • Toothpaste should not be swallowed. Encourage children to spit out toothpaste and keep it out of their reach.
  • Discourage ongoing nibbling on foods and sipping on drinks between meals and snacks. This causes ongoing acid attacks on teeth, which can cause tooth decay, even tooth rot.
  • Be a great role model: children want to brush their teeth when they see you brushing your own.