Good dental hygiene habits begin before your kiddo’s first tooth arrives. Wipe your baby’s gums with a soft cloth after feedings to avoid bacteria buildup. Once teeth appear, use a soft toothbrush twice a day. When your child hits preschool age, start using a small pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Your child may be at risk for cavities (holes that form when bacteria use the sugar in food to make acid). More common foods than you think put you at risk: craisins, fruits snacks, cookies, sports drinks, even juice). Parents should help brush their children’s teeth until they have learned to do it well.
Family members with lots of cavities can pass bacteria to babies and children so designate a specific toothbrush to each member of your family! Avoiding sweet and/or sticky foods unless you can brush right after is a great tip. If you have those types of food, make sure your child at least uses some water to rinse. The American Dental Association recommends that parents take their children to a dentist no later than their 1st birthday. Give your dentist a chance to look for early problems and become familiar with your child. Visiting the dentist from a young age will help your child become comfortable with going to the dentist and establishes the good habit of regular dental checkups.