• Dr. Rishika Sahay


When to start cleaning your child’s mouth can be really confusing but crucial step towards their oral hygiene and overall health. Some wrong or misinformed choices regarding your child’s oral health at this early stage are one of the reasons why children are the worst affected by cavities and have to bear with its repercussions throughout life.

Now for the ease of it, I will be dividing children into different age groups from newborn to 5-year olds and explain how to clean their oral cavity according to their age.


- Cleaning your child’s mouth preferably after every meal or at least twice daily is really important for keeping their mouth and overall health good.

- You can do this by using a washed cloth dipped into water and wrapped around your clean index finger. Now clean your infants’ mouth gently by moving the finger in circular motions inside the mouth, giving minimum pressure.

- Make sure you clean the entire mouth including the gums, tongue, inner cheeks, etc.


- This is the time when the child starts teething.

- So the area when teeth have still not erupted should be continued cleaning with the damp cloth like before.

- But for the erupted teeth, a soft bristle toothbrush (preferably finger toothbrush) should be used, damped in water, but WITHOUT toothpaste as at this age children tends to swallow toothpaste instead of spitting it which may be harmful to them.

- This entire process of cleaning of mouth should be more preferably done after every meal or twice daily.


- During this time the child should be introduced to a soft bristle baby toothbrush.

- The child should be taught how to clean the tooth, however, the parents should always be there to help them with the process.

- A very small amount of toothpaste can be used along with toothbrushes after 2 years of age when the child is taught how to spit.

- Using a non-fluoridated toothpaste is always the best choice at this stage as children still tend to swallow some of the toothpaste.

- Also, using tongue cleaners after brushing teeth is really important from this stage.

- This is the time when the habit of teeth cleaning is inculcated in the child and should be done at least twice daily.


- During this time, the child is allowed to brush teeth using a soft bristle baby toothbrush and a very small amount of toothpaste, twice daily under parents’ supervision.

- The child may also be introduced to dental floss if there is less or no space between teeth, but this process should only be performed by parents for safety reasons.

- Tongue cleaners should be used every time after cleaning of teeth.

- If the habit of keeping good oral hygiene is inculcated during this age, its positive effects will be seen throughout the toddler’s life.

So, it is very important to take care of your child’s oral hygiene from the very beginning as a healthy set of milk teeth leads to a healthier permanent dentition too.

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