A Parent’s Guide to Dental Hygiene: From Birth to 5 Years of Age  

A parent may think that practicing good dental hygiene only becomes important once their child’s permanent teeth erupt, however, caring for the primary teeth is vital. In fact, parents should begin a dental hygiene regimen directly after their baby is born.

The Role of the Primary Teeth

The primary teeth pave the way for the permanent teeth by helping to guide them into the proper position. In addition, these teeth help the child as he or she learns to speak, assists with the child’s facial development and allows the child to easily chew food. Once the child is in school, if he or she is experiencing pain due to cavities resulting from poor dental hygiene, concentrating can be difficult. Furthermore, since the permanent teeth develop just beneath the roots of the primary teeth, a cavity could negatively affect the permanent teeth even before they erupt.

Dental Hygiene from Birth to Age 5

Birth to 12 months

After feedings, parents should gently wipe their newborn’s gums with a moist clean cloth. This removes bacteria and helps the baby become comfortable with this type of activity.

As is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), parents take their child to the dentist for a well-baby check once he or she turns a year old, or within 6 months of the eruption of his or her first tooth.

12 to 24 Months

Now, parents can use a wet, soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush to clean their child’s teeth. Remember to brush the back teeth.

Once the child’s teeth begin to touch each other, parents can gently floss in between them. Neglecting to floss means that 1/3 of the child’s teeth remain unclean.

At 12 months, parents should schedule their child’s well-baby exam. To make a well-baby exam appointment at Rayburn General Dentistry please call 409.698.8800.

Also, your child’s first dental cleaning will take place between the ages of 12 to 36 months. After that, remember to schedule your child’s biannual teeth-cleaning appointments. Most dental insurance companies cover these cleanings at 100 percent.

At 36 Months (3 Years)

At this age, parents can add toothpaste to their child’s toothbrush, however, they should only add a pea-sized amount. Also, this toothpaste should be formulated especially for children, without fluoride.

Parents can contact Rayburn General Dentistry at 409.698.8800 to schedule a dental exam for their child. Now that the child is a little older, this exam helps to acquaint the child with the dentist and what the dentist does.

Once a child is able to spit out the toothpaste, he or she can begin using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

4 to 5 Years

The child has reached the age when he or she can begin brushing and flossing unassisted, however, parents should continue to supervise these activities. Supervision is necessary until the child reaches about 8 years old.

Begin a dental hygiene regimen early on so that your child is comfortable with this activity. To schedule your child’s well-baby exam or a dental cleaning contact Rayburn General Dentistry at 409.698.8800 or click here to use our online form to request an appointment.

Our office is located at 3303 Recreational Rd 255 W in Brookeland, Texas.


  1. https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/dental/birth_oral_health.htm
  2. https://www.checkupnewsroom.com/5-reasons-why-baby-teeth-are-just-as-important-as-permanent-teeth/
  3. https://myorthodontistus.com/dental-hygiene-for-children/


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