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Healthy Mouth, Healthy Child

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:

  • Clean your baby’s gums by lightly massaging his or her gums with a damp washcloth.
  • When teeth appear, lightly brush with a soft child-sized toothbrush with a rice-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Start using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste on your child’s brush when children reach toddler/preschool age. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste.
  • Flossing should begin once teeth grow in next to each other.
  • School-aged children should brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes at a time, continue flossing and use a mouth rinse.
  • 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.


Source: The Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, web, accessed March 2010.


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