Tooth Decay - Prevention
Brushing and flossing your child's teeth
- When your child?s first teeth come in, start cleaning them with a soft cloth or gauze pad. As more teeth come in, clean teeth with a soft toothbrush. Because too much fluoride can be toxic and can stain a child?s teeth, ask your doctor or dentist if it?s okay to use fluoride toothpaste.
- After your child is 2 years old, use a
green-pea-sized amount (or less) of fluoride toothpaste.
Brush your child's teeth for the first few years, until your child can do it
alone (usually at about age 3). Teach your child not to swallow the
- Your child can learn how to brush his or her own teeth at about
3 years of age and should be brushing his or her own teeth morning and night by
age 4, although you should supervise and check for proper cleaning. Your child
should be able to brush without your supervision by about 8 years of
- Tips to get your child to brush his or her teeth
include setting a good example and having your child brush his or her stuffed animal's teeth.
Normal amounts of fluoride added to public water supplies and bottled water are safe for children and adults. If your child needs extra fluoride, your dentist may recommend supplements. Use these supplements only as directed. And keep them out of reach of your child. Too much fluoride can be toxic and can stain a child?s teeth.
Set up routine visits with
your dentist. At the visit, he or she will examine your teeth and gums for
signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other health problems.
more information about practicing good oral health habits, see the topic
Basic Dental Care.
A visit to the
dentist can be a scary thing for a child. You can reduce this possibility by
choosing your dentist carefully and preparing your
child for his or her first visit. Call your dentist for ideas about putting
your child at ease before you bring him or her in.