Keeping Your Child's Mouth Healthy
Taking care of your children’s oral health is key to their long-term general health. Here are some tips for your child’s dental health:
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child’s first dental visit takes place when the first tooth appears or by his or her first birthday.
- Clean your baby’s gums with plain water and a small, soft-bristled toothbrush designed for infants.
- Start using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste on your child’s brush at age 2 to 3. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste.
- Baby teeth are important. Not only do they help children learn to speak and chew naturally, they hold the place for permanent teeth until they are ready to erupt.
- Children should not fall asleep with a bottle. Juice and other high sugar beverages should be given in a cup, never from a bottle.
- Let children brush under your supervision and assistance until they can brush by themselves—generally around age 7.
- Encourage children to chew sugarless gum and stay away from sticky candy.
- If your child plays sports, make sure he or she always wears a mouth guard.
Help your kids get excited about taking care of their teeth with the fun games and activities in Marshall Molar’s Kid Corner! Many topics also are available as downloadable flyers in our oral health flyers section.
Source: The Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, http://www.aapd.org/foundation/hints.asp, accessed March 2010.