The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry 

Five Steps to Ensure Your Child's Oral Health

There are many ways you can help your child maintain good oral health -- from helping your child establish the correct dental habits to providing professional care.

  • Help your child learn and practice good oral hygiene. Brush teeth thoroughly twice a day -- after breakfast and before bedtime. Tooth brushing should be supervised at least until the age of 8. Infants need to have their mouths cleaned in the morning and evening.
  • Make certain your child is receiving the proper amount of fluoride. Possible sources include drinking water, fluoride supplements, fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, and topical fluoride treatments applied by the dentist approximately every 6 months.
  • Limit snacking to three or four times a day. Almost all foods, especially snacks, contain sugars or cooked starches. Each time a child snacks, the decay-causing bacteria in the mouth become active for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  • To help prevent baby bottle tooth decay, never allow a child to use a baby bottle as a pacifier during the day or while sleeping. This also applies to breast feeding. It is important that infants not be allowed to feed at will from the breast throughout the night.
  • The chewing surface of the back teeth is the area of the mouth most susceptible to cavities and not protected by fluoride. Pediatric dentists can protect these teeth with sealants.

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Posted on with permission from AAPD.