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When Do Babies First Smile? What Do Those Toothless Grins Really Mean?

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

The first time they feed. The first time they hold your finger. The first time they fall asleep in your arms. There are so many firsts with a new baby. They all quickly fill your heart. Their first grin is no exception. When does it happen? What does it mean? First off, relax, mom and/or dad. Next, read below to learn all about their gorgeous baby smiles.

Newborn Smiles: It Is Not Just Gas

While every parent would love to see their baby raise the corners of their mouth in pleasure — pinpointing a baby's first smile is next to impossible. Could they express some visual relief as they discharge gas? Sure. But every baby is different. They could've smiled in the womb or their first 5 minutes after birth. It really depends on how your baby adjusts to this big new world they came into. If you want to witness some of their first smiles, your best bet is while they're in a deep sleep. But chances are, those smiles are a physical reaction or reflex to being warm with a full tummy and not an emotional one. Those will come, and oh boy, they'll have you hooked.

When Do Babies First Smile to Say Hello?

While their first smiles are most likely in their early days, your baby's first smiles to communicate usually take a little longer to make an appearance. It could take 2-3 months to socially smile at you with hopes that you smile back. That should be no problem. And the more you smile, speak, laugh, and communicate with your bundle of joy, the better. Our children really do mimic our every move. It's a responsibility you'll fall in love with. As they grow, though, they could very well be communicating frequently with their grins by 6 months. A little heads up, though — coffee shops and grocery stores are breeding grounds for smiles from strangers. You'll see.

When Do Babies First Smile with Teeth?

Your baby is smiling often now and lighting up the room. Awesome. When will their pearly whites accompany their grin? Well, most baby teeth start to erupt between the 3 and 9-month window. It's great watching them grow up before your eyes. But there's nothing wrong with a toothless grin for a few months. Teething is a developmental stage that is much different than smiling and communicating with your baby. Again, you'll see.

While they smile big for you (even before teething), it's never too early to start tending to your baby's oral care. The sooner you start implementing a routine with them as a baby, the smoother it will be as they transition to a toddler and have a bigger role in brushing and flossing. Just remember this little nugget — a healthy smile is always a happy smile.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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