West 85th Dental
8561 8A Ave SW Calgary AB T3H 0V5 (403) 246-5545

(587) 355-4332

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brushing-baby-teeth Hero

When To Start Brushing Baby Teeth

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Your child’s first tooth coming in is an exciting time for the whole family. But with this beautiful stage in life comes some oral care responsibilities from the parents. Baby teeth need to be cared for every day, just like your adult chompers

Knowing, when, how, and why you need to clean your infant’s teeth is an important step in their dental development. Let’s discuss what steps you should take as your child’s first teeth emerge.

Your baby’s first visit to the dentist is also an important step in giving them every advantage for a clean, healthy mouth. So make sure to ask about children’s dental exams and pediatric dentistry if your baby is welcoming their first tooth.

Before Your Baby’s First Tooth

The Canadian Dental Association recommends cleaning your baby’s mouth before their first tooth comes in with a damp cloth. This will help remove any bacteria from the gums and mouth. Be sure to use a soft cloth, so you don’t damage delicate gum tissue. You can also use a water-soaked gauze pad or infant toothbrush to clean your baby’s teeth and gums.

This also starts to build a routine for daily oral care with your child. Maybe they won’t struggle as much once teeth start to show!

A close up of a baby girl wearing pink with big blue eyes, holding her mouth open showing her first two teeth

When the Brushing Begins

There’s no waiting game when it comes to brushing a baby’s teeth. Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth begins to grow in. Once your child’s first tooth emerges, it is important to start brushing them twice daily.

Just as you should brush your teeth before bed, make sure your baby’s teeth are cleaned after their last meal, including milk. This removes bacteria and sugars that cause plaque while your child sleeps.

Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the bristles of an age-appropriate-sized brush. Gently brush all surfaces of the teeth, using circular, back-and-forth, and up-and-down motions. Be sure to brush on the inside surfaces of teeth and down by the gum line.

It is also important to floss your child’s teeth once they have two teeth that are touching each other. Use a small piece of floss or an interdental brush (like a proxabrush) to remove plaque build-up in between their teeth.

When Should My Baby Start Using a Toothbrush?

Your baby can start using a toothbrush as soon as they have their first tooth. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head meant for infants. Replace your baby’s toothbrush about once every 3 months.

What Kind of Toothpaste Should I Use for My Baby?

Fluoride toothpaste is important for preventing cavities in both children and adults. It is considered safe when used and consumed at appropriate levels. Choose a toothpaste that has the Canadian Dental Association’s seal of approval and contains fluoride. 

But supervise young children when they begin using fluoride. Fluoride is not designed to be swallowed and can lead to discomfort when it is consumed.

How Long Do They Need My Help Brushing?

Generally, children under the age of 3 should have their teeth brushed by an adult morning and night. Ask your dentist if your child is at risk for early tooth decay. If so, use a tiny amount (grain of rice size) of toothpaste to brush their teeth.

Kids between the ages of 3-6 should be assisted in brushing their teeth. Make sure your child is following proper brushing guidelines. Children this age only require a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. 

What About Seeing the Dentist?

Early oral care can help prevent cavities and other dental problems down the road. The Canadian Dental Association recommends your infant’s first visit to the dentist before their first birthday or within 6 months of their first tooth poking through, whatever comes first. Once teeth have erupted, it’s important your child receives bi-annual dental exams and cleanings.

A family or pediatric dentist can provide your child with a comprehensive exam, including an assessment of dental development, gums and mouth tissue health, and bite alignment. They’ll also be able to give you advice on how to properly brush your baby’s teeth and monitor the oral hygiene habits of your child.

It is important to find a dentist who is comfortable working with kids. They’ll need plenty of experience dealing with fussy patients! Our dentists at West 85th specialize in family dentistry and are always excited to set young people up for dental success.

An Early Start to Great Oral Health

It is important to start taking care of your baby’s teeth as soon as they emerge. West 85th Dental can help you get started with a comprehensive pediatric dentistry exam and advice on how to properly brush your child’s teeth. 

We always make time for our youngest patients and work hard to help them develop a positive relationship with oral care and their dentist. West 85th Dental is a family-focused practice that helps ensure healthy teeth development in your child. Our dental family looks forward to getting to know you, and your new baby, better. Contact our team to book your baby’s first visit!


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  • Written by Dr. Reena Kaloti

    Dr. Kaloti enjoys helping people, both at personally and professionally, and have fun while doing so. She always knew she wanted a job that allowed her to do that, and spent her childhood babysitting, lifeguarding, teaching swimming lessons, and volunteering in the geriatrics unit of her local hospital. She enjoys working with patients of all ages.

    Dr. Kaloti started studying dentistry in 2000 and graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with her DMD. After practicing dentistry for five years, she decided to take some time to focus on building her family. When she returned to work, Dr. Kaloti and Dr. Minhas decided to partner up and open up West 85th Dental. Their vision was to create a warm, inviting office and a pleasant and relaxing experience that would make their patients look forward to visiting.

    At West 85th Dental, we pride ourselves on providing comprehensive dental care to all our patients by providing thorough examinations, explaining our findings clearly, educating our patients about oral hygiene, and providing multiple treatment options that allow our patients to make educated decisions about their health and care.

    When Dr. Kaloti is not seeing patients, she spends her time doing charity runs, water sports, pilates, and spending time with her family.

    More Articles by Dr. Reena Kaloti

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