How to Clean a Baby’s Mouth

Do you have a newborn baby or an infant of any age and are looking for ways to make sure their mouth is kept clean? Whether your little one has just started teething, is starting to learn how to eat solid foods, or they simply needs some extra pampering and special attention, this blog post will show you the best ways how to clean a baby’s mouth.

How to Clean a Baby's Mouth

Read on for helpful tips on selecting oral care products appropriate for babies as well as effective techniques that can be used when cleaning their mouths.

Why is It Important to Clean a Baby’s Mouth?

1 . To Promote Oral Health

Did you know that babies are born with no bacteria in their mouth? That’s why it’s crucial to clean a baby’s mouth regularly. By cleaning your baby’s mouth, you can prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria and germs – this is essential because as your child grows, they will put more things in their mouths. Moreover, good oral hygiene from an early age can also help reduce the risk of dental problems in the future.

2. To Prevent Illness

As adults, we know how important it is to maintain proper oral hygiene to prevent illnesses such as tooth decay and gum diseases. The same goes for infants; cleaning their mouth can help protect them from these diseases too. Harmful bacteria can cause infections and lead to further health problems, which is why it’s essential to clean your baby’s mouth.

3. To Get Rid of Milk Residue

After feeding, milk can often linger in the baby’s mouth, especially if they were bottle-fed. This leftover milk can mix with saliva and create a breeding ground for bacteria. Cleaning your baby’s mouth after each feeding can help prevent this from happening.

4. To Practice Good Habits

Caring for Your Baby's Mouth

Caring for your baby’s mouth from an early age helps establish good oral habits that they will carry with them throughout their lives. Regularly cleaning your baby’s mouth also introduces them to the idea of oral hygiene, which is a crucial part of overall health and wellness. When you make it a habit to clean your baby’s mouth, they will learn its importance and continue the practice as they grow older.

How to Clean a Baby’s Mouth in 7 Easy Steps

Now that you understand why it’s important to clean your baby’s mouth let’s take a look at how you can do it effectively. Here are some steps you can follow:

Step 1: Start Early

It’s a good idea to start cleaning your baby’s mouth as soon as you can. Although they may not have teeth yet, bacteria can still build up in their mouth leading to infections and tooth decay if left uncleaned. It’s best to get in the habit of cleaning your baby’s mouth after feedings, before bedtime and eventually at least twice a day as they grow older.

Step 2: Get the Right Tools

To clean your baby’s mouth, you will need a soft washcloth or gauze wrapped around your finger, or a small rubber fingertip toothbrush. These tools are specifically designed for gentle cleaning in a baby’s mouth.

Step 3: Wash Your Hands

Remember to wash your hands before you begin. You want to make sure that no harmful bacteria or germs get into your baby’s mouth during the cleaning process. Also, it’s a good idea to clean your baby’s toys and pacifiers regularly to prevent any transfer of germs.

Step 4: Lay Your Baby Down Comfortably

Choose a comfortable position for you and your baby. You can lay them down on a changing table or bed with their head slightly tilted back in a supported position. This will make it easier for you to see inside their mouth and clean effectively.

 Lay Them Down on a Changing Table

Step 5: Gently Wipe Their Gums

Wrap a clean washcloth or gauze around your finger and gently wipe your baby’s gums. You can use some water if needed, but avoid using toothpaste as babies tend to swallow it. Make sure to reach all areas of the mouth including the cheeks, tongue and roof of the mouth.

Step 6: Start Brushing

Once your baby’s first tooth appears, you can start using a small rubber fingertip toothbrush to gently brush their teeth. Use a small amount of water on the brush or non-fluoride toothpaste in case they swallow it.

Step 7: Develop Good Habits

As your baby grows older, make it a habit to clean their mouth regularly. You can incorporate it into their bedtime routine or after meals. This will not only keep their mouth clean and healthy but also help them develop good oral hygiene habits for the future.

Remember, cleaning your baby’s mouth is an important part of their overall health and development. It helps prevent tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health issues. By following these easy steps, you can ensure that your baby’s mouth stays clean and healthy from an early age.  So make sure to start early, use the right tools, wash your hands, lay your baby down comfortably, gently wipe their gums, start brushing and develop good habits for a lifetime of healthy smiles!

10 Additional Tips to Clean a Baby’s Mouth

1 . Do Not Use Toothpaste

Even though it is important to maintain oral hygiene for babies, it is best not to use toothpaste. Babies tend to swallow the toothpaste while brushing which might cause digestive problems. Also, the fluoride content present in toothpaste might harm the baby’s health if consumed in large quantities. It is recommended to use a clean, damp cloth or finger brush instead of toothpaste.

Maintain Oral Hygiene for Babies

2 . Clean After Feeding

It is important to clean your baby’s mouth after every feeding session. This helps to remove any milk residue that may be left on the gums or inside the mouth. This not only helps in maintaining oral hygiene but also prevents any milk from fermenting and causing bad breath.

3 . Be Gentle

When cleaning your baby’s mouth, it is important to be gentle. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a clean cloth to gently clean the gums and teeth. Being too rough can cause discomfort for your baby and also damage their delicate gums.

4 . Start Early

It is recommended to start cleaning your baby’s mouth as early as possible. This not only helps in getting them used to the cleaning routine but also prevents any buildup of bacteria or plaque in their mouths.

5 . Use Fluoride-Free Water

When using a damp cloth to clean your baby’s mouth, make sure to use fluoride-free water. This is because babies tend to swallow the water while cleaning which might cause health problems if there is a high concentration of fluoride in it.

6 . Avoid Bottles During Naptime

Asleep With Bottles in Their Mouths

Babies who fall asleep with bottles in their mouths are at a higher risk of developing cavities. The milk or formula from the bottle can pool in their mouths, leading to tooth decay. It is best to avoid giving them bottles during naptime or bedtime.

7 . Introduce a Sippy Cup

As babies grow older and start drinking from a cup, it is important to choose one that promotes good oral health. A sippy cup with a straw or spout helps limit the amount of liquid that comes in contact with their teeth and reduces the risk of tooth decay.

8 . Limit Sugary Foods

Sugary foods and drinks can cause cavities, even in babies. It is important to limit or avoid giving your baby sugary snacks and drinks, especially before bedtime when saliva production decreases and bacteria have a higher chance of causing tooth decay.

9 . Use a Fluoride-Free Toothpaste

Once your baby starts getting their teeth, it is recommended to use fluoride-free toothpaste until they are able to spit it out properly. This will prevent them from swallowing too much fluoride and reduce the risk of fluorosis.

10 . Set a Good Example

Babies learn by imitating their parents, so it is important to set a good example when it comes to oral hygiene. Make sure to brush your teeth in front of them and involve them in the process as much as possible. This will help establish good habits and make cleaning their mouth an enjoyable activity for both you and your baby.

 Brush Your Teeth in Front of Them

These are some additional tips that can help keep your baby’s mouth clean and healthy. Remember, it is important to start early and be consistent with oral hygiene practices for your baby’s overall health and well-being.  So, make sure to follow these tips and keep your little one’s smile bright and healthy!

Frequently Asked Question

What Precautions Should I Take When Cleaning My Baby’s Mouth?

When cleaning your baby’s mouth, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure their safety and well-being. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Always wash your hands before and after cleaning your baby’s mouth.
  • Use a clean, soft cloth or gauze to clean your baby’s gums and teeth. Avoid using abrasive materials that may cause irritation.
  • Never leave your baby unattended while cleaning their mouth, as they could easily choke on the cloth or gauze.
  • If your baby has any cuts or sores in their mouth, avoid cleaning those areas until they have healed to prevent further irritation.
  • Do not use toothpaste when cleaning your baby’s mouth, as they may not know how to spit it out and could accidentally swallow it.
  • Make sure to clean your baby’s mouth gently, as their gums and teeth are still developing and can easily get hurt.
  • If you notice any redness, swelling or bleeding in your baby’s mouth, stop cleaning immediately and consult a pediatrician.

How Often Should I Clean My Baby’s Mouth?

It is recommended to clean your baby’s mouth at least once a day, preferably after each feeding. This will help remove any bacteria or food particles that may be left in their mouth, preventing tooth decay and other oral health issues.

 Preventing the Tooth Decay

Can I Use a Pacifier to Clean My Baby’s Mouth?

No, using a pacifier is not an effective way to clean your baby’s mouth. It may introduce germs and bacteria into their mouth and can also cause nipple confusion. Stick to using a clean cloth or gauze for cleaning purposes.

Should I Start Using Toothpaste When Cleaning My Baby’s Mouth?

Not yet. It is recommended to start using a small smear of fluoride toothpaste on your baby’s toothbrush once they reach the age of 2. Before that, just water and a soft cloth or gauze will suffice for cleaning their mouth. Also, make sure to use a child-friendly toothpaste that is specially formulated for their delicate teeth and gums.

How Can I Make Cleaning My Baby’s Mouth More Fun?

Cleaning your baby’s mouth can be challenging at times, especially if they tend to get fussy. Here are some tips to make the process more fun and interactive for both you and your little one: 

  • Sing a song or play some music while cleaning their mouth to distract them and make the experience more enjoyable.
  • Let your baby hold onto a toy or teething ring while you clean their mouth. This will keep them busy and less likely to resist.
  • Use a baby toothbrush with soft bristles and fun designs or characters on it to make brushing more appealing to your baby.
  • Make silly faces and talk to your baby while cleaning their mouth to make it a fun bonding experience.

Remember, developing good oral hygiene habits at an early age is crucial for your baby’s overall health. By following these precautions and tips, you can ensure that cleaning your baby’s mouth is not only effective but also an enjoyable experience for both of you.


A proper oral hygiene routine is essential to your baby’s health, as a dirty mouth can lead to bacteria growth and build-up. Regularly wiping and cleaning your baby’s mouth with a soft damp cloth after each feeding should become part of your daily routine. Ensure you are gentle when it comes to the gums, never use a hard toothbrush and always make sure the rubber bulb syringe is completely sterilised before use.

Now you know how to clean a baby’s mouth! Most importantly, if doubts arise, consult with your pediatrician or dentist for further advice. Therefore, start cleaning away today! A little effort now ensures that your child has a healthy smile not just now but in the future too!

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Loren Jones

Hi, my name is Loren. I live with my husband and 4 lovely kiddos in the Eastern part of San-fransisco. I have a smart beautiful,curious 6 year old daughter, a handsome 11-year-old son, an intelligent and tech geek 15 years old son and a creative, artistic 12-year-old stepson. With each of my kids being five years apart, I feel that I’m now continually phasing in and out of each stage of parenting! I’ve learned a lot about the way children learn and behave, especially in a school setting with regards to curriculum. I enjoy sharing that insight through my writing and hope that it can help others.

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