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Tooth Care January 27, 2022, 11:34 pm

Making a Habit of Healthy Teeth

1. Start early. Start cleaning your child’s gums even before he or she has any teeth. It will help keep his/her mouth and gums healthy and it sets a pattern of oral care for both of you.

  • Use a damp, soft cloth or gauze pad, or buy an infant gum brush/massager, and gently wipe the gumline.[1]
  • Begin brushing as soon as a tooth appears. Use a soft brush; many experts advise using a rice grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, but you can at least start by just wetting the brush. You can also get a special flavored toothpaste that is meant for babies

 

2. Practice what you preach. You will have many other opportunities to use the “Do as I say, not as I do” method of parenting. Practice good oral health care yourself and let your child know this is important for everyone.

  • Brush your teeth with your child. Let your child feel like he or she is helping to keep you on the right track as well.

 

3. Visit the dentist. It is recommended that a child visit the dentist by age 1 or within 6 months of the first tooth appearing, whichever comes first.[2]

  • Bring your child to 1 of your appointments, or that of an older sibling, cousin, or friend. Ask the dentist to let your child observe what happens at a dental checkup. Your child may be more receptive to hearing why healthy teeth are so important from the person in the white coat with all the fancy tooth gadgets.
  • Find books or videos about visiting the dentist. Help them be more familiar and less frightened.

 

4. Make it a part of the daily routine. Have your child brush his/her teeth at the same time each day. Attach it to other normal tasks -- for instance, brushing right before pajamas come off in the morning and as soon as they go on in the evening. Make it seem very ordinary (yet important).

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