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How to Keep Your Child's Teeth Healthy

When Should a Child Start Brushing Their Teeth?

0 to 3 Years

Before your baby's teeth erupt, use a soft, clean piece of gauze to clean your baby's gums after feeding.

When the first tooth erupts, around 6 months, begin gently brushing twice a day with a very soft-bristled child-size toothbrush. Use a very small amount of children's fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice). Make sure they spit out the toothpaste.

Recommended Products for Children 6 to 18 Months

Radius Children toothbrush

RADIUS Pure Baby Toothbrush (6-18 months)

-ADA Approved

-Extra-soft baby bristles

-Safe for children 6 to 18 months

-No harsh chemicals

baby gauze

EASICUTI Disposable Infant Toothbrush

-High quality materials

-Safe for children age 0 to 36 months

-Helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay

-Each brush is individually vacuum sealed

3 to 6 Years

For children age 3 to 6, brush their teeth twice a day regularly. Use a pea-sized amount of children's fluoride toothpaste. Make sure they spit out the toothpaste.

6+ Years

Continue to brush your child's teeth until you are sure that they can clean them safely and effectively themselves. Continue to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on a child-sized toothbrush until their permanent teeth have grown in.

Recommended Products for Children 3+ years

best toddler toothbrush ada approved

RADIUS Totz Toothbrush Extra Soft Brush (18+ months)

-ADA Approved

-Safe for toddler 18+ months

-Safe, soft bristles

-Easy for children to hold

best toddler toothpaste ada approved1

Colgate kids toothpaste cavity protection

-ADA Approved

-Safe for children

-Helps fight and prevent cavities

-Fun Flavor for children

Should a Child Floss?

As soon as a child has two teeth that are touching, they should begin to floss. An adult should floss for them until the child is old enough to safely and effectively floss on their own. This should be around age 6 or 7.

Recommended Floss for Children

Dentek Funfloss

Dentek Kids Fun Flossers

-ADA Approved

-Safe for children

-Perfect size for children's hands and mouth

-Fruit flavor

Toms Antiplaque Floss

Tom's of Maine Natural Waxed Antiplaque Flat Floss

-ADA Approved

-Thick, durable, and gentle on gums

-All natural

-Spearmint flavor

What Age Should a Child Go to the Dentist?

As soon as a child's first tooth appears (usually 4 to 6 months of age), you should schedule a visit to your dentist.

ADA guidelines suggest that the first dental visit should happen within 6 months of the first tooth eruption, and before their first birthday. If you child has had no teeth come in by 10 months, schedule a dental visit.

How to Prevent Cavities in Children

A baby is born with 20 primary (baby) teeth in their jaw. They usually begin coming through the gums 4 to 6 months of age. By age 3, most children will have a full set of 20 primary teeth. Tooth decay is the most common childhood dental problem, which leads to cavities, but it is preventable.

Sugary drinks are the most common cause of pediatric tooth decay and cavities.

Here are some tips to avoid cavities in children:

  • Limit sugar intake. Avoid sweetened water, soft drinks, and fruit juice. Water is the best drink for babies and toddlers.
  • Don't put your baby to sleep with a bottle. When a baby falls asleep with a bottle, some milk stays in their mouth and on their teeth. When the baby has finished feeding, remove the bottle or breast, and wipe their mouth with a damp cloth before bed.
  • Use clean pacifiers. Do not dip them in honey or sugar.
  • Try not to share saliva. Cavity causing bacteria can be passed from parent to child. Avoid putting spoons and pacifiers in your mouth before your child.
  • Clean the child's gums and teeth regularly. Use a soft damp cloth to wipe your child's gums before their first tooth erupts. As soon as their first tooth erupts start using a child-sized soft toothbrush and small amount of children's fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice). Make sure they spit out the toothbrush.

Tooth Eruption Chart

timeline of primary teeth eruption

Everything You Need to Keep Your Kid's Teeth Healthy

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Keep Your Baby's Mouth Healthy

(6 to 18 months)

This list has all the supplies you'll need to start taking care of your baby's teeth. 

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Keep Your Toddler's Mouth Healthy

(18+ months)

This list has all the supplies you'll need to start taking care of your toddler's (18+ months) teeth. 

Last updated on January 20, 2022
Last updated on January 20, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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