Protect Your Child’s Teeth at Home
As a parent, you are in partnership with the dentist to protect your child’s teeth. Here are some tips for healthy dental hygiene as your child grows:
Before teeth erupt, wipe your baby's gums after each feeding.1
Once your baby’s teeth erupt, brush them at least once daily, preferably at bedtime.2
Prevent baby-bottle tooth decay: Don't give your child a bottle of milk, juice, or sweetened liquid at bedtime or when put down to nap.1
Discourage thumb sucking after age 4. Prolonged thumb sucking can create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems.1
Introduce a pea-sized dab of fluoridated toothpaste after 2 years of age, once the child is old enough to spit out the toothpaste after brushing.2
Help your child brush properly twice daily until he or she has the skill to handle the toothbrush alone. Then, continue to closely watch brushing to make sure a thorough job is done.3
Avoid foods and treats that increase tooth decay: hard or sticky candies, fruit leather, and sweetened drinks and juice. Offer fruit rather than juice; fruit is nutritious, whereas juice just exposes the teeth to sugar.4
1 “Dental Care for Your Baby.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/babycare.asp Accessed 2010.
2 “Pediatric Oral Health Information for Parents: Frequently Asked Questions.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. http://www.aapd.org/pediatricinformation/faq.asp Accessed 2010.
3 “Brush Up on Healthy Teeth.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov/OralHealth/pdfs/BrushUpTips.pdf Accessed 2010.
4 “Diet and Snacking.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/snacking.asp Accessed 2010.
Online Medical Reviewer:
Eakle, Stephan W., DDS
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