Accessing dental care (Babies)

You can start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they start to come through. Use a baby toothbrush with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste specially made for babies and toddlers as this contains less fluoride than regular toothpaste.

Don't worry if you don't manage to brush much at first. The important thing is to get your baby used to brushing their teeth as part of their daily routine. You can help by setting a good example and letting them see you brushing your own teeth.

Key health professionals for delivering this care:
  • Midwives
  • Health visitors
  • Nursery nurses
Top tips to help protect your baby’s teeth
  • NHS dental care is free for all pregnant mothers and up to 12 months after birth and for children
  • Children should start going to the dentist for regular check-ups along with the rest of the family as soon as the first tooth erupts, and definitely before age 1.  The dentist can advise on brushing, a healthy diet and regular check-ups
  • Stick to water or milk as a baby’s drink. Fruit juice, squash, smoothies and fizzy drinks contain a lot of sugar which causes tooth decay.
  • Breastfeeding up to 12 months of age is associated with a decreased risk of tooth decay and reducing sugar in your child's diet is also important.
  • Breast milk is the only food or drink babies need for around the first 6 months of their life; first formula milk is the only suitable alternative to breast milk.
  • Only breast or formula milk or cooled, boiled water should be given in bottles.
  • Alongside their usual method of feeding, babies should be introduced to drinking water from a free-flow cup from the age of 6 months and using a bottle should be discouraged from 12 months old.
  • For more information on looking after your baby’s teeth, please visit the NHS website.

Linked Resources:

Ava's first visit to the dentist.

Hide this section
Show accessibility tools