Oral Health

Oral health is a key part of your child’s overall well-being. When a young child experiences dental problems, their self-esteem, attention span, and social development can be impacted. If left untreated, dental issues can even affect future academic performance as a result of missed school days due to pain. Avoid these complications by setting good dental habits from the start! Here are some tips to keep your child’s smile shining bright.

Brush, Brush, Brush Your Teeth

  • Good oral health starts before the first tooth appears!  Wipe your newborn’s gums with a clean, damp cloth at least once a day. 
  • When the first tooth appears, typically between 4 and 7 months, begin brushing with a small toothbrush.  Ask your doctor about what toothpaste, if any, to use.
  • When your child is able to understand how to spit out toothpaste, typically between the ages of 2 and 3, start using a pea-sized amount.
  • Don’t forget to make brushing fun!  Let your little one pick out a brightly colored toothbrush or make up a silly song to sing while you brush.


Download our oral health brochure to find brushing tips by age.

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Take a Trip to the Dentist

  • Your child should visit the dentist by age 1, or when their first tooth comes in.
  • Schedule visits in the morning, when your child is less likely to be fussy.
  • Don’t forget to make follow up appointments every 6 months, or as often as your dentist recommends.

FIRST 5 supports free and low-cost dental services for children, like those provided by the Children’s Dental Group.  These centers offer high-quality care in a fun, kid-friendly environment that welcomes all children and families.


Brush up on tips to keep your child’s teeth healthy! In this podcast, we sit down with the President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to talk about ways to keep your child’s smile shining bright. Nearly 30% of American children between the ages of 2-5 have dental disease. Dr. Rhea Haugseth, President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, explains why.