Education: Children’s Oral Health Care

A child’s primary (baby) teeth may be temporary, but they deserve good care. A child needs strong, healthy primary teeth, not only to chew food easily, but to pronounce words properly.

Cleaning of Teeth
  • Brush your child’s teeth with water as soon as the first tooth appears.
  • Brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day unless the dentist recommends otherwise.
  • Brush a baby’s teeth at least once per day at bedtime.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head.
  • When your child is 2-3 years of age begin using fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Use only a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Supervise your children when they start brushing their own teeth.
  • Teach children to spit out remaining toothpaste and rinse with water after brushing.
  • Be a good example by taking good care of your teeth.
Other Care for the Children’s Teeth
  • Hold your baby and the bottle during feeding.
  • Gently wipe your baby’s gums with a clean damp washcloth or gauze pad after feeding to remove plaque bacteria. This also helps your baby get used to someone reaching into their mouth.
  • Start taking your baby to the dentist within 6 months of the first tooth. This will help your child to become familiar with the dental office and the dentist to become familiar with your child’s oral health.
  • Talk to your child’s dentist about fluoride supplements.
  • Fluoride helps harden teeth and makes them more resistant to decay.
  • Never allow an infant to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices, or sweetened liquid. When your baby falls asleep with a bottle and you’re not there to take it away, any milk, formula, or juice in their mouth can pool and lead to cavities. Use water when you put the baby down for a nap.
  • Do not dip a pacifier in sugar or honey.
  • Floss your child’s teeth as soon as any two teeth touch. This removes plaque where a toothbrush can’t reach.
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