Babies are born with 20 teeth under their gums. Although your baby’s first tooth may not show for around 6 months, it’s important to care for their gums right away.1

Here are some ways to keep your newborn’s gums healthy and clean.

Wipe down your newborn’s gums at least twice a day

Babies have less saliva than adults, so they need extra help getting rid of bacteria in their mouth. After washing your hands with soap and water, use a damp wash cloth or gauze pad to gently rub your baby’s gums, cheeks and tongue to wipe away any food or liquids.2

Note: Do not brush your newborn’s gums with a toothbrush3

Clean and sterilize feeding items often

All bottles, nipples, rings and caps should be cleaned with soap and water after each use. And since a baby’s immune system doesn’t mature until they are around 2–3 months old, their feeding items should be sterilized as well.4 To learn more, see how to clean, sanitize and store infant feeding items.

Keep pacifiers clean

In addition to germs and bacteria, dirty pacifiers can spread thrush—a common fungal infection that causes white patches and uncomfortable sores in a baby’s mouth. When a pacifier gets dirty, a simple cleaning with hot water and dish soap can do the trick.5

Try not to share your saliva

Using the same spoon or licking a pacifier clean may seem harmless. However, you could be passing germs and microorganisms that put your baby at risk. Try to use soap and water or pacifier wipes to clean a pacifier when possible.6

It’s never too soon to care for your newborn’s gums

Gum care for newborns has a lot of benefits, including getting your child comfortable with regular dental care. This way, when teething starts or your baby’s first tooth pops through, you’ll both be ready!

Humana offers family dental plans

If you’re a current Humana dental plan member, you may be able to add a dependent to your plan at any time. If you’re looking for a family dental plan, Humana offers a broad range of plans with varying levels of coverage, many with affordable monthly premiums. To see plans and prices in your area, check out our Humana dental insurance page.

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  1. “Eruption Charts,” American Dental Association, last accessed November 19, 2021,
  2. “Cleaning Your Baby’s Tongue at Any Age,” Healthline, last accessed November 19, 2021,
  3. “Caring for Your Baby's Teeth,” WebMD, last accessed November 19, 2021,
  4. “Is Your Newborn Baby’s Immune System Strong Enough?” Cleveland Clinic, last accessed November 19, 2021,
  5. “How to Clean Your Baby’s Pacifier,” Cleveland Clinic, last accessed November 19, 2021,
  6. “How to Clean Your Baby’s Pacifier.”