Skip to content
This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff and is brought to you by LISTERINE®.

No. 6. Ditch the Pacifier by Age 2 or 3

There are lots of good reasons to let your child use a pacifier, but in the long term it can affect how his teeth line up. It can also change the shape of the mouth.

Talk to your doctor if he's still using a pacifier past age 3.

No. 7. Watch Out for Sweet Medicine

Children's medications can be flavored and sugary. If they stick on the teeth, the chance of cavities goes up. Children on medications for chronic conditions such as asthma and heart problems often have a higher decay rate.

Antibiotics and some asthma medications can cause an overgrowth of candida (yeast), which can lead to a fungal infection called oral thrush. Signs are creamy, curd-like patches on the tongue or inside the mouth.

Talk to your dentist about how often to brush if your child is taking long-term medications. It could be as often as four times a day.

No. 8. Stand Firm on Brushing, Flossing, and Rinsing

If your kid puts up a fuss when it comes time to brush, floss, and rinse, don't let him off the hook. Make it clear he doesn't have a choice.

Some tips to coax your reluctant child to brush on his own or get your little one to let you help:

Be patient. Kids can start brushing their teeth with help from a grownup around 2 or 3. But they may not be ready to go it alone until about age 6. And it can take until around age 10 until children perfect their flossing skills.

Don't wait until late in the day. If your child is tired, you may not get much cooperation with brushing, flossing, and rinsing. So start before it's too close to bedtime.

Let your child choose toothpaste. Kids 5 or older can pick their own from options you approve.

Motivate. A younger child may gladly brush for a sticker, for instance, or gold stars on a chart. Or make it a group activity. Kids might be more likely to join in if they see the grownups brushing.

Previous Slide Next Slide
close

From Our Sponsor

Content under this heading is from or created on behalf of the named sponsor. This content is not subject to the WebMD Editorial Policy and is not reviewed by the WebMD Editorial department for accuracy, objectivity or balance.

  • Healthy Mouth

    Follow these simple steps for basic oral health.

  • Beautiful Smile

    From braces to whitening, get pointers on how to look your best.

  • Kids' Teeth

    How to help your little ones take care of their teeth.

  • Expert Answers

    Advice from dentists on everything from bad breath to fillings.