Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth Over the Ages
June 1, 2020 at 10:00 AM
by Little Heroes Pediatric Dentistry


Good oral care starts at birth. Right after birth, start cleaning your baby’s mouth by gently wiping the tongue and gums after they feed with a clean washcloth or something like a Tooth Tissue dental wipe. Doing so helps remove any unwanted residue of breastmilk or formula, preventing the growth of bacteria. This practice also helps them get used to having something clean their mouth, making it easier to introduce tooth brushing later on. Most babies have their front four teeth pushed through at about 6 months old, although some don’t get their first tooth till as late as twelve to fourteen months.


As soon as teeth come in, decay can occur. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend scheduling a child's first dental exam after the first tooth erupts and no later than the first birthday. Exams should be scheduled every six months to properly protect your child’s oral health, as it gives the dentist a chance to detect any problems early on and give you advice on caring for your child’s teeth. For children younger than three years old, you should start brushing their teeth as soon as they appear by using a children’s toothpaste with fluoride, such as the ones by Tom’s of Maine which is available at most stores. Use no more than a smear the size of a grain of rice, and brush their teeth thoroughly twice a day, once in the morning after breakfast and once at night before bed. Once their teeth start to touch, you need to start flossing them every night to clean out anything stuck in the middle. Remember, the children shouldn't be given anything to eat or drink except water after brushing at night.

Children 3-8 Years Old

For children under the age of 8, it is recommended that you assist them in brushing as they don't yet have enough dexterity in their hands to be able to properly clean the teeth in the back. Keep on brushing their teeth morning and night using a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Clean teeth thoroughly along the gumline, making sure to get all sides, not just the front. Consult your pediatric dentist about applying sealants when appropriate. Sealants are one of the most effective means of preventing decay from susceptible grooves on the teeth.  A sealant is like protecting the grooves of your teeth with a tooth-colored lid.

Children 8 and up

Once you are comfortable with letting them do so, you can have your children brush and floss their own teeth. Keep reminding them though! Kids, and sometimes adults too, often forget to brush their teeth at night. It is extremely important for them to maintain good cleaning practices, as it saves them from having to endure tooth pain and expensive procedures in the future.

Healthy habits that start at birth last a lifetime.