Brushing and flossing can clean teeth of plaque and debris and prevent the buildup of harmful, cavity causing bacteria. Wiping an infant’s gums clean with a wet washcloth in the first months after birth can set the stage for good oral hygiene even before teeth emerge. This allows the infant become use to the parent cleaning the mouth. Once the teeth begin to erupt and you move to a soft bristled toothbrush then the baby will be acclimated to a parent cleaning the mouth. Once tooth brushing begins, it is important to brush twice each day, a habit that should continue through childhood and into adulthood.

Parents should begin to brush a baby’s teeth as soon as the first one emerges, typically after 4 months of age. A soft bristled toothbrush is appropriate for babies and young children, especially while a baby is teething and their gums are tender. As soon as two adjacent teeth come in, it’s time to start flossing. Flossing once daily in a “c-shaped” around both sides of each adjacent tooth will help clear out debris and buildup from hard-to-reach areas and promote healthy gums.