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Healthy Habits at Home

Reinforcing good dental hygiene at home, in-between visits, is an important part of creating big smiles! When your children develop healthy habits now, you are setting them up for a lifetime of great oral health.

Toothbrushing Tips

  • Two minutes, Two times a day:Brushing in the morning and at nighttime for two minutes each time with a fluoridated toothpaste helps prevent tooth decay. Remember, at nighttime, only water after brushing before bedtime!
  • How old is old enough to brush? As soon as the first tooth erupts, it is susceptible to plaque and tooth decay. For this reason, it is important to begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they first appear.
  • Keep Kids’ Mouths Healthy: Parents and caregivers should help or watch over their kids’ tooth brushing abilities until they’re at least 8 years old.
  • The Right Toothbrush: Kids should use a soft-bristled toothbrush that allows them to reach all areas of their mouth. Remember to replace toothbrushes every three-four months and even sooner if the bristles are worn out, or if your children have been sick.
  • Flossing: Kids should clean between their teeth once a day, every day, with floss or flossers to remove plaque and food where a toothbrush can’t reach. Children’s teeth can be flossed as soon as two of their teeth touch each other.

Dietary Suggestions

  • A balanced diet helps your children’s teeth and gums to be healthy. A diet high in natural or added sugars may place your child at extra risk for tooth decay.
  • Children ages one to six years old should consume no more than four to six ounces of fruit juice per day, as part of a meal. Also, sugary or starchy food is safer for teeth if it is eaten with a meal, not as a snack. Chewing during a meal helps produce saliva which helps wash away sugar and starch.
  • Foods like potato chips, crackers, raisins, dried fruit, candy and even gummy vitamins are not easily washed away from kids’ teeth by saliva, water or milk, thereby increasing your child’s risk for developing cavities.
  • Healthy snacks for children’s overall nutrition and to promote good dental health include fruits, vegetables, nuts and cheeses.

Teething

  • Common signs include mild irritability, drooling, and an occasional low-grade fever. Drooling can start months before the first tooth arrives!
  • To ease discomfort, try non-medicinal methods first including giving the child something clean and safe to chew on, like a teething ring or cool wet cloth. Wet a cloth, squeeze out the excess water, put it in a plastic baggie, and toss it in the refrigerator. The chill from the cloth as the baby chews on it will help relieve the irritation and massage the gums.
  • Teething gels that are applied to the gums should be avoided, as they can be harmful to your baby’s health. Instead, giving the appropriate dosage of children’s Tylenol can provide relief.