How can I help prevent tooth decay in my child?
You can help prevent tooth decay in your child with these simple steps:
- Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first one appears. Brush the teeth, tongue, and gums twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Or watch as your child brushes his or her teeth.
- For children younger than 3 years old, use only a small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. Starting at 3 years old, your child can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. -Floss your child’s teeth daily after age 2.
- Make sure your child eats a well-balanced diet. Limit snacks that are sticky and high in sugars, such as chips, candy, cookies, and cake.
- Prevent the transfer of bacteria from your mouth to your child's by not sharing eating utensils. Don’t clean your infant’s pacifier with your saliva.
- If your child uses a bottle at bedtime, only put water in it. Juice or formula contain sugars that can lead to tooth decay.
- Talk with your child’s healthcare provider or dentist about using a fluoride supplement if you live in an area without fluoridated water. Also ask about dental sealants and fluoride varnish. Both are put on the teeth.
- Schedule routine dental cleanings and exams for your child every 6 months.
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