For parents, it is very normal to have a range of questions about the oral health of their child. Are babies at risk of tooth decay, and when should you start brushing their teeth? These are important facts to know, and can enable them to grow up with strong oral health.

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It is very common for parents to have questions regarding the oral health of their baby – including when they should start brushing, when they are at risk for tooth decay, and other queries.

It is important to know these things, as it is never too early to get into good oral health habits. Therefore, this can give them a strong oral health foundation to build on as they grow up.

Can babies get tooth decay?

It is important for parents to know that even the smallest teeth can get decayed. As soon as their first tooth appears, they are at risk of decay.

In fact, tooth decay is one of the most common conditions children suffer with growing up. For example, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that more than half of children aged 6 to 8 have had a cavity in at least one of their baby teeth [1]. This process can start from a young age.

Children that live in poverty, are in minority groups or have additional health needs often disproportionately develop tooth decay. Holes can appear in teeth due to decay, which is when a cavity filling is required.

Fluoride in Water

Fortunately, fluoridated water is common. Fluoridated water has had a very positive impact on the oral health of children and adults. Fluoride is added in small quantities to the public water supply in many cities, and can help to stop cavities from forming.

Therefore, it is important for toddlers to drink water from a young age. The NHS recommends that young children can start drinking water from around 6 months [2].

Not everywhere has fluoridated water. If you are unsure on if your water is fluoridated, then you can contact your local water utility agency. If it isn’t, then you could ask your doctor for a prescription for fluoride drops for your child.

When should you start brushing your baby’s teeth?

Another common question that parents have involves when they should start brushing the teeth of their child. The answer is that as soon as your baby has their first tooth – you should begin brushing!

Up until the age of 3, you should only use a tiny amount of toothpaste – about the size of a grain of rice [3]. Make sure that you use fluoridated toothpaste, and clean twice a day.

As the child gets older, you can progress to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. It is also recommended that you assist or supervise your children as they brush their teeth. When they have fully mastered toothbrushing – normally around the age of 10 – you can leave them to it [3].

When should dental check-ups begin?

Your pediatrician will normally start to do oral health check-ups from around 6 months. Pediatricians will also normally apply fluoride varnish to a baby’s teeth, which can provide help to slow or prevent tooth decay [3].

It is recommended for this fluoride varnish to be applied every 6 months until they reach the age of 5. In fact, children at high risk of tooth decay may need to have it three or four times per year.

A first full oral health check-up is recommended to take place at around the time of their first birthday. A dentist can then provide any advice, and recommend the frequency in which they should get check-ups in the future.

As the child gets older, it is crucial that they attend regular dental check-ups – normally twice per year. Remember to remind them of the importance of looking after their oral health, as this will greatly help them as they grow up.

Thinking points…

1) It is very important to set a good example for your children in terms of having excellent oral hygiene. This includes brushing teeth at least twice a day, flossing, and eating healthily. Another integral part of strong oral hygiene is to attend regular dental appointments. You could take your child with you, so that they see the importance of oral health. We recommend booking an appointment now!

2) At our Calgary Dental Clinic Taradale Dental, we are always happy to welcome infants! We know about the importance of looking after the oral health of your children and will always be happy to provide advice. If you want to find out more about our clinic, visit our homepage We would love to see you visit us soon!

What we offer at Taradale Dental

Taradale Dental is a Calgary Dental Clinic that provide it patients with a wide range of dental treatments,

It is very important to have excellent oral hygiene. This involves brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly and eating healthily. Therefore, this should help your oral health.

We advise our patients to attend our Calgary dental clinic at least twice per year for a regular dental check-up. At these check-ups, we provide our patients with advice, and look for any problems. If problems are found, we have many treatments available. For example, these include cavity fillings and root canals.

Here at Taradale Dental, we also have some cosmetic treatments available! These include dental implants, teeth whitening and Invisalign™! Many people find that these treatments have a positive impact on their appearance, confidence and self-esteem.

Moreover, all of our services at our Calgary dental clinic Taradale Dental are set in line with the Alberta Dental Fee Guide. This ensures transparent and fair pricing.

We hope to see you soon at our Taradale Dental clinic in Calgary! You can find out more about us by visiting our website


[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Oral Health Surveillance Report: Trends in Dental Caries and Sealants, Tooth Retention, and Edentulism, United States, 1999–2004 to 2011–2016. Atlanta, Georgia.

[2] NHS. (2022). Drinks and cups for babies and young children. Available: Last accessed: 13th January 2023.

[3] Krol, D. M. (2023). Ask the Pediatrician: Do babies get tooth decay, and when do they start brushing teeth?. Available: Last accessed: 13th January 2023.