How Do I Clean Out My Newborn's Mouth?

Your newborn may be tiny and toothless, but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t have a clean mouth. Clean your newborn’s mouth daily as a part of overall hygiene. Your attention to these details from day one will help set the stage for effective oral hygiene once teeth start to appear.

Sit in a comfortable chair with a bed pillow on your lap. Place your newborn on the pillow so his head is about even with your chest, advises the Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center 1. The pillow will support your newborn effectively and place him at the correct height for you to clean his mouth.

Wrap a small piece of gauze or the corner of a clean washcloth around your index finger snugly. The Colgate resource center advises moistening the gauze or washcloth first 1. However, the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry advises using a dry washcloth or gauze 2. Use the process that your newborn tolerates best.

Place your wrapped finger on your baby’s lower lip and gently insert your finger into his mouth. Move your finger carefully over your newborn’s gums to wipe the surfaces.

Repeat the cleaning process one or two times each day to keep your little one’s mouth clean.


Your baby may fuss initially, but he will learn the process eventually. Remain patient in the early weeks and make the mouth-cleaning process fast. It shouldn’t take more than a minute to clean your little one’s mouth.

When teeth erupt, you can switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently clean teeth and gums.

Follow your dentist’s advice about the appropriate time to begin using toothpaste to clean your baby’s teeth.