Help Protect Your Child’s Smile

Follow the tips below to protect your child’s teeth from cavities. Young children want to brush their own teeth, but they need your help. Until your child is about 7 or 8, you should brush their teeth and help them floss.


Did you know the health of your mouth can affect the health of your baby? If you have a healthy mouth during your pregnancy, it will help keep your baby healthy.

Start out right!

  • Get a dental checkup while you are pregnant. It is safe, important, and recommended.
  • Brush and floss after every meal.
  • If you vomit, rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of water..


pregnant person brushing teeth

 Parent and baby

Baby’s First Months

Start taking care of your baby's mouth early, even before their teeth come in. Babies can get germs in their mouths that can cause tooth decay once their teeth start to come in. 

Here are some tips to keep your baby's mouth healthy:

  • Hold your baby while they eat.
  • After your baby eats, clean the gums with a clean, soft, damp cloth.

6 Months - 1 Year Old

Babies will get their first tooth around 6-months of age.

Start good habits early!

  • Brush your child’s teeth everyday using a soft toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use a clean, soft, damp cloth to clean the gums where there are no teeth.
  • Help your baby use a cup.
  • Take your baby to the dentist before age 1.
toothbrush with a smear and toothbrush with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
child smiling

1-2 Years Old

Check your child’s teeth and gums once a month. Look for white spots. If you see white spots, take your child to the dentist right away.

  • Brush the front and back of your child’s teeth after breakfast and before bed with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Lift their lips to brush at the gum line.
  • Floss your child’s teeth.
  • Take your child to the dentist for regular checkups.

3-5 Years Old

The cleaning and care that you start now will lead to lifelong habits that help your child keep a healthy mouth.

  • Continue to brush your child’s teeth with a soft toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
  • Make sure your child spits out the toothpaste after brushing.
  • Do not have your child rinse with water. The fluoride that stays in your child’s mouth is good for their teeth.
  • Floss your child’s teeth. Ask dental office staff to help!
child smiling
Parent watching child brush their teeth

6 Years or More

During this time, you will see changes in your child's mouth. Adult teeth will start replacing baby teeth. Help your child continue to maintain the good habits you started.

  • Children need to brush their teeth at least twice a day.
  • Take your child to the dentist for check-ups every six months.
  • Ask your dentist about sealants and fluoride varnish to help prevent tooth decay.

Cavities can be prevented with good oral health!

Resources for Parents

Last reviewed and updated: May 14, 2024