Early dental care can help keep kids smiling for years to come

Early dental care can help keep kids smiling for years to come
Parents urged to make brushing, flossing and visiting dentist a regular habit.

(HealthDay)—Every baby has a beautiful smile, and to keep it that way, parents should teach good dental habits at an early age, experts say.

A child's first dental appointment should occur six months after the first erupt or by their first birthday. After that, it is recommended that children see a dentist every six months.

"Childhood is largely preventable, and taking your child to see a dentist at an early age is the best way to prevent future oral health problems," Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Dr. R. Claire Campbell said in an academy news release. "This will instill positive behaviors that will result in a lifetime of good oral health."

As part of National Children's Health Month in February, the group offered the following tips for parents:

  • When the first teeth come in, parents should begin brushing the child's teeth. Brush for two minutes twice a day using a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and water. Talk to your dentist before using toothpaste in children under age 2.
  • Introduce flossing early. Helping kids learn how to floss will encourage them to make it a routine as they get older.
  • Do not allow excessive sucking of or fingers, which can lead to tooth misalignment.
  • Don't let children fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, or sweetened liquids. A decrease in the flow of salvia while they sleep makes children's teeth more susceptible to cavities caused by sugar in these liquids.
  • Encourage kids to drink tap or fountain water. If you live in an area where the public water supply is not fluoridated, consider talking to your dentist about fluoride supplements.
"The best way to teach a child how to brush is to lead by good example," Campbell said. "Allow your child to watch you brush your teeth to teach the importance of good oral hygiene."

More information: The Nemours Foundation has more about keeping your children's teeth healthy.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

From one generation to the next, dental care changes

May 18, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Stephanie Crowe, a mother of three from Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., still remembers dreading a visit to the dentist as a young girl. It was often a painful experience, and her family's dentist showed little empathy ...

Like parent, like child: Good oral health starts at home

May 17, 2010

Parents are a child's first teacher in life and play a significant role in maintaining his or her overall health. Providing oral health education to mothers and families is essential to teaching children healthy habits and ...

Recommended for you

Want whiter teeth? Fruit mixture is not the answer

Oct 14, 2014

Can you ditch the strips and dump the dentist for whiter teeth? From "The Dr. Oz Show" to YouTube videos, experts say you can reclaim those pearly whites simply by mixing fruit, such as strawberries, with ...

Survey of toddlers' teeth shows ticking time bomb

Oct 06, 2014

The first ever survey of oral health in three-year-olds in England has been conducted by Public Health England, which released its report this week. It made shocking reading – some 12 per cent of toddlers ...

Novel technology used to make restorative dental material

Oct 02, 2014

A novel dental restorative material that should make life easier for dental care experts and their patients, which is based on technology developed by a team of University of Colorado Boulder engineers, was unveiled today ...

User comments