February marks Children’s Dental Health Month, and also another important holiday which includes candy! No time like the present to review six top tips for your children’s teeth before those Valentines are handed out!
- Children are born with 20 teeth below their gums, and most will have their full set by age 3. They usually start coming through the gum by age 6 months to 1 year.
2. Decay can start as soon as you see teeth in your child’s mouth. Start brushing with a small amount of toothpaste (a “skiff”) as soon as you see your child’s teeth.
3. Start brushing your child’s teeth twice per day, after breakfast and before bed with a “skiff” of fluoridated toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice. After age three, toothpaste should be no more than a pea-sized amount.
4. Schedule your baby’s first dental visit after their first tooth erupts or by their first birthday. Why so early? As soon as your baby has teeth, they can get cavities.
5. Start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they touch together. It is fine to floss before or after brushing, and to use child-friendly plastic floss holders to more easily floss their teeth until they are older and can do it themselves.
6. When your child is thirsty, water is the best beverage, especially if it’s fluoridated. Drinking water with fluoride (“nature’s cavity fighter”) has been shown to reduce cavities by 25 percent.