Home Home care • Healthy Children, Healthy Teeth: How to Avoid Tooth Decay

Healthy Children, Healthy Teeth: How to Avoid Tooth Decay


It is important to teach your children good oral health from day one. To avoid tooth decay, these tips are important for your family to follow.

Make sure you are a good role model. Brush your teeth at least two times per day and floss at least once per day. Make time to clean your child’s teeth each day. Show them how to brush properly.

With your infant, it is important to ensure that his or her mouth is clean. Take a soft washcloth, wet it, and wipe the gums. When a tooth pops out, clean it with water to start and then graduate to toothpaste per your pediatrician’s instructions.

With your toddler, it is important to brush their teeth in the morning and the evening. Use a very small amount of toothpaste on their brush. Be careful with fluoride toothpaste; children are not supposed to swallow this product, so you should always help them when it is time for them to clean their teeth. Start teaching them how to spit the toothpaste out rather than swallowing it.

With your preschooler, it is still important to brush twice per day. You can start using a little more toothpaste on their brush an amount equivalent to the size of a pea.

Do not allow your child to head to bed with food or a bottle. Doing so is problematic for several reasons. It makes your little one more prone to ear infections. They could choke. And, it is unhealthy for their teeth because of the sugars in these products.

Your baby should only have a bottle during the day. Do not allow them to suck on their bottle in lieu of a pacifier. Also, do not give your child a sippy cup or bottle to carry around and use whenever they wish. These items should be given at mealtime.

Is your water fluoridated? This is important information to have. Also, if you have well water, it is a good idea to see how much fluoride content is in it. If there is only a minimal amount, your little one may need a fluoride supplement to help avoid tooth decay.

After your child turns a year old, it is important to start the transition to a regular cup. This helps move the liquid from the front of the mouth, where the teeth are, to the back of the mouth. Plus, you would not think of letting your toddler take a regular cup to bed.

If you notice that your child has their sippy cup or bottle for significant periods of time, only put water in it to avoid problems. Keep their diet free of junk foods, like candy or fruit snacks. Be aware that chips and crackers also have sugar. Choose healthy foods for snacks, and if you are going to allow some of these other items, only give them during meals.

Juice should be given only during breakfast, lunch or dinner. Allow your child no more than six ounces. Do not start giving juice until your baby is over six months old.

If you are worried about your child’s teeth, set up a dentist appointment as soon as possible.

Author:Kenneth Smith