ways to keep your baby's teeth clean toothbrush, washcloth, xylitol wipes, finger brush

How to Make Cleaning Your Baby’s Teeth Easy

I love it when babies start getting their teeth! They go from this gummy smile to a mouth full of teeth in no time.

Did you know that those baby teeth need your attention? Yes, they need to be cleaned daily just like you brush your teeth every day.

Now, keeping your baby’s teeth doesn’t have to be complicated. Let me share with you some ways to keep your baby’s teeth clean.

how to keep your baby's teeth clean. wash cloth, finger brush, xylitol wipes, toothbrush.

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You can use something as simple as a washcloth or gauze pad. Just wet the washcloth so that it is damp and gently rub those little teeth and gums. Start doing this as soon as your baby gets those first teeth around 6-10 months. This is important for a few reasons.

Getting used to you in their mouth

First, it gets your baby use to you being in their mouth.

Many times I hear parents say that their kids hate them brushing their teeth and they have to fight to get it done. Many times I have found that when parents start early it makes it a little easier as they grow older.

Don’t get me wrong. Your little one is going to resist you at times as they grow up. But, at least you will start getting them into a routine that will help minimize the tears and tantrums.

We want to make brushing a fun experience and not a chore.

cleaning baby teeth. photo from pixabay

Reduce the chance of cavities

Secondly, cleaning your baby’s teeth helps reduce the plaque on their teeth that can eventually lead to cavities. This happens with bottle-fed babies and breastfed babies.

Yes, it’s true. There are natural sugars in breast milk that help feed the bacteria that cause cavities. So, you definitely want to make sure to clean your baby’s teeth after nursing.

Keeping your baby's teeth doesn't have to be complicated. Here are 4 ways to keep those teeth clean.


Finger brush

One of my favorites is the finger brush. This brush helps transition your little one from the washcloth to a toothbrush. This little brush is very gentle and feels good on your baby’s gums especially when they are teething.

You can use this finger brush and start using some training toothpaste when brushing your little one’s teeth. Only a smear of the training paste is needed.  You don’t need much.

The training toothpaste actually tastes pretty good too. You should try it!

Don’t be discouraged if all your little one wants to do is suck the training toothpaste off because it tastes so good. It is ok. 

Remember, we are trying to get in there with the least amount of resistance as possible.  Just like with the washcloth, you want to gently rub your baby’s teeth.



Xylitol wipes

Now if your baby is going through those periods where they are feed a lot more than usual, using one of the xylitol wipes (like Spiffies) will be beneficial.

I love these wipes. They have a really mild taste, but the best part is it has xylitol.

So, what is xylitol? Xylitol is a sugar found in nature that inhibits the bacteria in the mouth from producing acid, which leads to cavities.

The way I like to visualize it is like this … Remember watching cartoons where the character eats something and then their eyes get big and they blow up? LOL. That is kinda what happens when those bacteria try to eat xylitol.

These wipes come in convenient little pouches, so you can slip them anywhere. Keep a few in the diaper bag and in the area where you feed the baby the most so that you can wipe after feeding.


You don't need muscle to clean your baby's teeth. Gently brush those little teeth.



You can begin introducing the toothbrush around 9 months or sooner.  If you give your baby a toothbrush earlier that is perfectly fine too.

Remember, when you are looking for a toothbrush you want to find one that is small and has soft bristles. You can continue using the training toothpaste with the toothbrush. 

Most of the packaging recommend to start using kids toothpaste (with fluoride) is at 2-3 years of age, however, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has changed this recently.

“… brushing of teeth with appropriate amounts of fluoride toothpaste (e.g., no more than a smear or rice-sized amount for children less than three years of age; no more than a pea-sized amount for children aged three to six) twice daily for all children”

You only need a tiny amount of toothpaste if you decide to give it to your child. A rice size amount is no much a lot.

When you are trying to decide which toothpaste to purchase, just look for the ADA seal of acceptance.

Like I pointed out earlier you want to be gentle when brushing your child’s teeth. For a few reasons.

One, your child will immediately not like you brushing their teeth rough and start crying and resisting you which is one thing we are trying to avoid.

Two, the plaque on your child’s teeth is soft and doesn’t take muscle to remove.

You want to make brushing fun.  I know it may sound silly.  But, you want you child to enjoy brushing their teeth now so that when they are teenagers they will have developed healthy brushing habits.

Few things to remember about the toothbrush

There are a few things I want you to remember about your baby’s toothbrush (and yours).

  • When the bristles begin to fray or get rough, throw the toothbrush away.  It is time to replace the toothbrush.
  • When your baby gets sick, throw away the toothbrush and replace it.  You do not want to put those germs that got your baby sick back into their mouth.
  • Typically you will want to replace your tooth and your baby’s toothbrush every 3-4 months. Earlier if you notice any of the things mentioned above.
  • Remember to store the toothbrush upright so that the bristles can dry after rinsing it with water.  Don’t put it in a closed container.

baby brushing teeth. photo from pixabay


Now you see it. It’s not that complicated.

Keep your baby’s teeth clean starts as soon as those teeth come in.  You can use a damp washcloth and gradually introduce the finger brush and xylitol wipes before brushing with a toothbrush.

Remember to schedule your little one’s first dental appointment when their first tooth comes in or by their first birthday.

You are doing great mom! Let me know in the comments below if there is something that you use to clean your baby’s teeth that I did not mention.

With lots of love,
Dr Toni


  1. WinWinDentalGmbH

    Thanks for sharing the best posts they very nice. I am impressed with your site and your posts they very help us.You made a good site it’s very interesting one

  2. Mackenzie

    I was just discussing this with my husband today. Thank you so much for the valuable information!

  3. Kami | Life with Kami

    Awesome post. I used a washcloth with my infants gums and then moved on to the finger brush on the toddler age.

    1. Thank you! The washcloth is so much easier than trying to figure out how to use a toothbrush early on. 🙂

  4. Monee

    My first is due in March and I am definitely saving this for later!

  5. Leanne

    I don’t have any babies (yet) but this is some really well put together advice! I love that you create this blog as well as your dentistry! Got to love the internet xx

    1. Thanks! Hopefully, these tips will come back to your memory once you have little ones. 🙂

  6. Syntich

    Thank you for this post, it helped me decide on how to care for my daughters teeth.

  7. Andrea

    Love this! Although now we are having issues with the toddler refusing to “let us help” her…

  8. LaToya C

    These tips are so helpful! I wish I had this info when my kids were babies!

    1. Thanks! Just in case you have a friend or family member that is a first-time mom, you will have the answers on keeping the baby’s teeth clean.

  9. Mary

    I always struggled to brush my kids teeth, thanks for the tips!

  10. Rachael

    Love this post! Our pediatric dentist always stresses how harmful juice can be for teeth, and although my toddler almost never has it I think those xylitol wipes would be great for when he does if we are out and about!

    1. Thanks! Yes, drinking juice frequently can definitely be harmful to your kid’s teeth. The xylitol wipes are convenient and helpful especially if your child has been snacking frequently. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. cynna

    This was super informative! I wish I had known some of these tips with my first!

    1. Thanks! Just in case you have a friend or family member with a little one you will have the answers on keeping their teeth clean. 😉

  12. Nicole Anderson | Camping for Women

    This is a really practical and helpful post for all new Moms to read. Totally agree with starting the process sooner rather than later and encourage them to enjoy it as much as possible. Great tips.

    1. Thank you! Yes, getting started early makes it easier to minimize the tantrums when they become toddlers! Thanks again.

  13. Shann Eva

    Such great ideas! I’d never heard about Xylitol wipes before. Those sound fantastic! My boys still swallow the training toothpaste, but they are pretty good about letting me brush. However, those wipes would really come in handy when in a rush or if we forget to bring a toothbrush with. Thanks for all the information!

    1. Thanks! I honestly wasn’t introduced to the wipes until I was pregnant with my second son. I went to a dental convention and met with a rep from a company that sold dental products geared towards kids. Yes, those wipes do come in handy! They have a really light taste so even the pickiest child will like it.

  14. MACY

    Oral health is so important! These are some great tips! My baby just started showing teeth so this post is helpful.

  15. Brittany

    Love these ideas! So great for children of all ages. My daughter just switched from the finger toothbrush to a toddler toothbrush, so far so good!

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