My seven-month-old son just cut his first two teeth. When do we start to brush them? Is two teeth enough to brush? Or should I wait until he has more? If so, how many more?

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    Teeth need brushing! So if you have 1 brush 1!
    – Barfieldmv
    Commented May 5, 2011 at 7:09

7 Answers 7


Teeth require brushing. If there are any teeth at all, they need to be brushed.

Brushing early on helps get the habit in place - there's no reason to wait with that. Even better, by beginning this early, there's less "risk" from those days where you give up for various reasons.


We started this as soon as he had a few teeth (round about 12 months in our sons case) and found it easier to make it fun,

Essentially one of either my wife and I clean our teeth with him, we clean his teeth then let him hold the brush and "attempt" to clean his own too (he hasn't quite got the hang of this bit at 16 months :) )

Once done we ask him to let us smell his breath, this is the bit he really likes as he breathes on our noses and we exclaim how nice it smells, in fact he insists everyone in the apartment smells his breath!


We started brushing our son's teeth once he got them out, although he was not into it the thought we had was getting him used to it early. Many things kids have can have sugar, or cause decay, so even with baby teeth you still want to have a clean mouth. Problem is whether or not your son will allow you to brush.


As soon as the teeth are through, you start to brush.

Get him into the habit of spending time brushing teeth to establish good oral hygiene. Be careful that if you use toothpaste (pea sized amount), it's not swallowed.

  • there's also special tooth paste for children, which contains the right "mixture" of ingredients, e. g. the amount of fluorine (enough for the age, but not too much). However, how do you want to avoid that it's swallowed? Our son learned rinsing out his mouth not until he was about 3.5 years old. If we gave him a cup with water before, he would swallow it and was not able to hold it in his mouth and spit it out afterwards.
    – BBM
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 19:04
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    I would put just enough toothpaste on the brush that he could taste it (even less than a pea size) and have him keep his mouth open. My husband would brush his teeth at the same time and spit, and we encouraged Matthias to spit too. If you're really worried about swallowing the paste, you can brush without toothpaste, it just won't be as effective.
    – Darwy
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 20:09
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    Children who cannot yet spit should not use a fluoride toothpaste, period. They make baby toothpastes that do not contain any fluoride and are thus safe to swallow.
    – Martha
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 14:27

I've found that teething babies love to have a toothbrush to chew on. It makes their gums feel better. It also helps establish a bedtime routine later on (don't expect this to catch on right away or anything). The soft-bristled ones specifically for children 0-1 are great this way.


You should start brushing as soon as teeth appear. Allowing the child to play with the brush before teeth appear will help when you need to actually brush.

Use a special childs toothbrush. They have very soft bristles and tiny heads.

Use special childs toothpaste. This has less fluoride (you should use a fluoride toothpaste) and a gentle flavour. UK advice is to use a mint flavour to make changing to an adult toothpaste easier. (We only have mint over here; there's one "wintergreen" toothpaste, and some weird flavours for children, but there's no cinnamon.)

Start by using a smear of toothpaste until the child can learn to spit.

At nighttime you may want to encourage them to leave the toothpaste on the teeth, rather than rinsing.


Wiping the gums with a bit of gauze before teeth have even popped out is recommended by my hygienist because bacteria can build up on the gums. It also gets them used to the sensation of having something in their mouth right away making brushing easier later.

She says they make tools for this task, but they need disinfecting right away if you buy the tool.

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