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6 Tips for a Healthy Smile (From Birth!)

6 Tips for a Healthy Smile (From Birth!)

While your baby likely won’t have an official dental visit until their first birthday, there is so much you can do to encourage healthy dental hygiene habits long before then. According to the CDC, tooth decay is the most common chronic health problem that children in the United States face––nearly 1 in 4 children will have a cavity by the age of five. 

Dental health problems can lead to other issues down the line. Things like speech delays, challenges with eating, sleep disorders, delayed social skills, problems in school and even heart disease later in life have all been attributed to unhealthy teeth and gums.

Luckily, parents can help their children avoid all of that by teaching them to take care of their baby teeth. Just like other life skills, starting early and setting a good example ensure that proper infant oral care is second nature to your child. With a lot of practice and positive reinforcement, your baby will be on the path to a bright and healthy smile. 

Building a Healthy Smile: Starting Baby Dental Care Early

Most children get their first tooth somewhere between 3 and 12 months old. Once you get through the challenges of teething, and that adorable little tooth pops up, it’s time to get serious about teaching good tooth brushing and other oral care habits. Here are some tips for keeping those baby teeth healthy!

1) Brush twice per day. 

Use a soft-bristled or silicone toothbrush to gently scrub the tooth once in the morning, and once at night. Establishing this routine helps your infant get used to the sensation of brushing. Remember to avoid fluoride toothpaste before age two––there are toddler-friendly toothpastes available, or just water will do.  

2) Limit sugary foods and drinks.

Soda, candy and even fruit juice all have a lot of sugar, and that can translate to tooth decay. Occasion treats are fine, of course, just make sure to brush afterwards! 

3) Don’t share your spoon. 

It is so tempting to offer your child bites of food off your plate as they get older and able to try new things, but did you know that utensils can transfer cavity-causing bacteria to your baby? Instead, use a separate, clean spoon for your baby.  

4) Schedule a dentist appointment. 

Sometime after that first birthday party, you should schedule a dental visit for your child. This first visit will mostly be to get your child used to the idea of seeing the dentist and having their teeth looked at. The dentist will also check that your baby’s teeth are developing properly. 

5) Offer water. 

Children 12 months old and up should start learning to drink water––not in place of formula or breastmilk if they are still nursing, but as a supplement. This is another chance to start building healthy dental hygiene habits. Water can help rinse away food residue between brushings. 

6) Set a good example.

Even at a young age, your child is watching everything you do. Let your baby see you taking care of your own teeth! 

Baby Toothbrush Guide: Choosing the Best Tools

Not every baby toothbrush is the same. When choosing a toothbrush, here are some factors to consider:

  • Size
  • Look for a toothbrush that is specifically designed for babies. A larger toothbrush will not properly fit into a baby’s mouth, and will be difficult to maneuver. Try the newly launched oogiebear finger brush, which fits perfectly in baby’s mouth, fits any adult finger, and has an ouchless no-bite feature.

  • Material
  • Soft bristles are a must so they won’t irritate baby’s gums. Equally important is the material the bristles are made of. I recommend a silicone brush, like the oogiebear 360° Toothbrush. Silicone tends to be more gentle, and is easy to clean and disinfect to avoid bacterial contamination. 

  • Ease of use
  • Your baby’s toothbrush should be easy to use and comfortable to hold. You also want a large handle, one that teething infants can learn to hold on their own, but won’t accidentally slip too far inside their mouth and cause choking. 


    Beginning infant oral care for your baby lays the foundation for lifelong dental health and a confident smile as they grow. Check out the oogiebear 360° Toothbrush and the oogiebear finger brush to help nurture your baby's smile from the start!

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