Brushing and Flossing Children's Teeth
How Safe Is Fluoride for My Child?
Fluoride is safe for children. Fluoride is a natural mineral that protects and strengthens the teeth against the formation of cavities. Using it early in your child's life will provide extra protection for developing teeth. Find out if your tap water contains fluoride by calling your local water authority. If your tap water does not contain fluoride, ask your dentist if you should give your child a fluoride supplement.
Do Home Faucet Filters Remove Fluoride?
There is a wide variation in water filters. Some do filter out fluoride; others do not. Check with the manufacturer of the filter you have purchased or have the water tested by a laboratory that does this type of testing.
Does It Matter What Toothpaste My Child Uses?
Many children's toothpastes are flavored with child-pleasing tastes to further encourage brushing. Select your child's favorite. Also, look for toothpastes that carry the American Dental Association's (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. This indicates that the toothpaste has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. Finally, read the manufacturer's label. Some toothpastes are not recommended for children under a certain age.
Can My Child Use a Mouthwash?
Generally, mouthwashes are not recommended in children who are incapable of spitting and rinsing – skills that occur around the age of 6. In older children, a fluoride mouth rinse can help prevent tooth decay and cavities in addition to brushing and flossing. Rinsing after a meal with water will also help remove some larger particles of food left on or between the teeth.
When Should My Child Start Seeing a Dentist?
It is generally recommended that an infant be seen by a dentist by the age of 1 or within 6 months after his or her first tooth comes in. This allows the dentist to inspect the teeth for any irregularities and counsel the parents on correct brushing methods and appropriate diet.
Children's teeth emerge at different times. Check out this chart to learn more.