Give Your Kids a Lifetime of Smiles

True or False: Baby teeth need to be brushed.

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If you answered true, you’re correct! Not only are baby teeth needed to chew and talk, they also act as placeholders in the jaws for permanent teeth growing under the gums. Providing your kids with good dental care from the very start can help protect their teeth – and smiles — for decades to come!

 

In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month (February), here are some additional things to know about caring for your children’s teeth.

 

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends parents take children to a dentist no later than their first birthday. What else can you do at home to foster healthy habits?

 

  • Start early. Clean your newborn’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. Start brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth (usually between six to 12 months). When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.
  • Brush for them. Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with the appropriate amount of fluoride toothpaste (See “Quantity counts” below).
  • Think 2 x 2: Two minutes, two times per day.
  • Quantity counts. For children younger than three years, use a tiny dab of toothpaste — about the size of a grain of rice. For children three to six years of age, use a pea-sized amount.
  • Supervise. Watch you children brush to make sure they use of the right amount of toothpaste and that they brush for a full two minutes. Also remind them not to swallow the toothpaste!
  • Make it fun! Music makes everything better, right? Visit Mouthhealthy.org/en/kids-brushing-playlist for a variety of family-friendly brushing songs.

 

Remember, the time you spend now helping your kids develop good dental care habits will pay off in a lifetime of healthy smiles!

 

Resources:

Adapted from the ADA’s oral-health information public site: Mouthhealthy.org.

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