Caring for Teeth
Good dental hygiene habits should begin before your child’s first tooth comes in. Wiping your baby’s gums with a soft damp cloth after feedings helps to prevent the buildup of bacteria. When teeth appear, start using a soft children’s toothbrush twice a day.
When your child is preschool age, you can brush his/her teeth with fluoride toothpaste, using only a pea size amount. Be sure to keep a close eye to make sure that your child does not swallow toothpaste.
Parents are responsible for ensuring their children practice good dental hygiene, and they must introduce proper oral care early in a child’s life—as early as infancy. This includes avoiding baby bottle decay, which occurs when a baby is put to sleep with a bottle. By the age of 2 or 3, teaching your child proper brushing techniques will help ensure healthy teeth and gums. Semi-annual dental visits and cleanings help to keep your child’s teeth in great shape.
Your child should use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. If your child is younger than 3, he or she should use non-fluoridated toddler toothpaste, also called training toothpaste. After age 3 and once he or she can spit well, you should introduce fluoridated toothpaste and continue to participate and/or supervise brushing. Use no more than a pea-sized amount, and make sure children do not swallow excess toothpaste.