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Children’s dental health for parents

Early Care - Dental

Many parents have a tough time judging how much dental care their kids need. They know they want to prevent cavities, but they don’t always know the best way to do so.

Here are some tips and guidelines.

Teeth begin to form in the second trimester of pregnancy. At birth, your baby has 20 primary teeth, some of which are fully developed in the jaw.

Good oral health for your child should begin even before the teeth begin to erupt. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

 How do I care for my child’s oral health?

  • Even before your baby starts teething, run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to clear away harmful bacteria.
  • When your baby gets teeth, brush them with an infant toothbrush. Use water and a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice).
  • Around age 2, your child should learn to spit while brushing. Avoid giving your child water to swish and spit because this can make swallowing toothpaste more likely.
  • Encourage good dental health for your child by helping him choose healthy, low-sugar snacks instead of sweetened snacks, drinks, and candy.

When should I take my child to the dentist?

Children should visit the dentist to have their teeth checked by about 12 months of age or when their first tooth comes through, whichever happens first. This lets your child get to know the dentist. It also gives you and your dentist a chance to talk about your child’s needs and plan your child’s dental care.

Talk to your dentist about how often your child needs to return for check-ups. Dentists usually recommend every 6-12 months.

How do I prevent my child from getting cavities?

Kids who eat a lot of sugary foods and drinks also are at high risk for cavities. It is important to make healthy food choices. Cavities are holes that form in your teeth. These can occur when bacteria (germs) build up in your mouth.

Your child may be at risk for cavities if they:

  • Have white spots or brown areas on their teeth.
  • Have ongoing special health care needs.
  • Do not go to the dentist often.
  • Were born early (premature) or had a low birth weight.

Schedule a check and clean for your child every six months. We’ll carefully monitor their teeth and gums to intervene before serious oral health problems have a chance to pop up.