Help Keep Decay Away

Babies
  • Clean your baby’s gums even before her first teeth erupt. Wipe them with a damp washcloth after feedings.
  • Start brushing as soon as the first tooth appears.Wet a baby toothbrush and gently rub it back and forth on the surface of the tooth and along the gum line. If you use toothpaste, make sure it’s fluoride-free.
Toddlers
  • Brush your child’s teeth for at least 30 seconds (ideally a minute) after breakfast and before bed. Lean her head on your lap and place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth.
  • Start using a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste when she’s 2 or 3 years old. Begin flossing teeth for him when two of his teeth are touching.
Preschoolers
  • Brush your own teeth at the same time as your child brushes, and give him lots of positive feedback.
  • Studies have found that manual toothbrushes are just as effective as powered ones. But if letting your kid use an electric or battery-operated one makes it easier to get her to brush, go for it.
School-Age Kids
  • Your child can start brushing and flossing on her own at around age 7. If she can tie her own shoes, chances are she’s ready to brush solo. She should now brush for two minutes.
  • Look for food and plaque around the gum line of her teeth to see whether she’s doing a sufficient job. You can also let her chew gum with Xylitol.

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