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From the First Tooth

Promoting A Healthy Smile For Life

By: Julie Carvelli, BA
Program Coordinator, From the First Tooth

Oral health is a part of your child’s overall health. Tooth decay is the most common disease impacting children, yet there are some simple steps you and your child can take to help prevent it.  Did you know kids with tooth decay in their baby teeth are more likely to get cavities in their permanent teeth? They are also more likely to have tooth loss later in life.

Here are some tips to help protect your child’s teeth:

The First Year:

  • Before Teeth: Clean the mouth with a washcloth every day.
  • After Teeth:  Start cleaning baby teeth as soon as they come in. Use a baby toothbrush with a smear (the size of a grain of rice) of toothpaste that has fluoride in it.

1 -2 Years Old

  • Brush Daily: Brush your baby’s teeth two times a day. Use a baby toothbrush with a smear of toothpaste that has fluoride in it.
  • First Dental Check:  Your baby should have a first dental check by age 1. Schedule a visit with a dentist or ask your medical doctor to look at your child’s teeth.
  • Fluoride: Ask your baby’s medical doctor about a simple fluoride treatment.
  • Wean from the bottle: It is best to have your baby off the bottle by age 1 and using a sippy cup with water only. Limit juice to meal times only.
  • Mouth Check: Check your baby’s mouth for spots and stains on the teeth.

2-3 Years Old

  • Brush Daily:  Brush your child’s teeth twice a day. Use a baby tooth brush with a smear of toothpaste that has fluoride in it. A smear is the size of a grain of rice.
  • Dentist: Schedule a visit with your child’s dentist.
  • Fluoride: Ask your child’s medical doctor about a simple fluoride treatment.
  • Juice: Limit juice drinks to 4-6 ounces per day (about half a cup). Most fruit juices have a lot of sugar that can cause tooth decay.

3-6 Years Old

  • Brush Daily: Let your child start learning to brush their own teeth, but be there to help.   Kids won’t really brush properly until they are about 6-8 years old.
  • Toothpaste: Use a pea sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride in it.
  • Dentist: Schedule a visit with your child’s dentist.
  • Fluoride: Ask your child’s medical doctor about a simple fluoride treatment.
  • Juice: Limit juice drinks to 4-6 ounces per day (about half a cup). Most fruit juices have a lot of sugar that can cause tooth decay.

Don't forget a fluoride varnish for your child:

Fluoride varnish helps to prevent and even stop decay that has already started. The varnish stays on the teeth for one day and gives your child benefits for months to come.  Fluoride varnish is safe, painless and quick to apply. Fluoride varnish is a clear protective coating applied to the outside of teeth.

For more information and resources please visit our website.  Feel free to email any questions to Julie Carvelli.

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