Preventing cavities in your child begins when the first teeth start to come through the gum tissue. These first teeth should be brushed gently twice per day with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. The amount of toothpaste used should be minimal as the child cannot spit out the excess. When the child needs to put down for naps or at night, only water should be given in a bottle or sippy cup. Putting milk, soda or juice can result in a mouth full of decay. All of these drinks have sugar in them and if the sugar sits for long periods of time, can rot teeth.
As the child enters the toddler years, flossing should begin when the back molars erupt. Flossing should be done once per day, however, flossing several times per week is a great start! Avoid giving your children foods with high amounts of sugar such as fruit snacks, candy and even crackers.
The American Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist at age 1. This is so that the child can be examined for "baby bottle decay" and we can review diet and good oral hygiene habits. Children, like most adults should be seen every 6 months for cleanings and to be examined.
As the permanent teeth erupt, sealants can be placed to prevent decay in the deepest grooves. Developing good habits early on can prevent pain, missed school and embarrassment for your child.