A guide to your child's dental health
From preparing for your child's first dental visit to dealing with her first cavity, we have all the information you need about your kid's oral health.
Each February, the American Dental Association sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of good oral health habits and regular dental visits for kids. Though you can't guarantee your child will never have a cavity, it's important to encourage healthy habits at a young age.
Brushing your baby's teeth
As soon as your child sprouts her first teeth, you need to start cleaning them. Using a soft baby toothbrush and a tiny bit of paste, you should brush your child's teeth twice a day to remove germs and plaque, and help prevent tooth decay. Instead of a brush, you can also use tooth tissues or dental wipes that are specifically designed to help clean baby's teeth and gums.
Toddlers can begin to learn to brush their own teeth. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, and watch them carefully — teaching them not to swallow the paste. When your child is 4 years old, you can begin flossing her teeth and by the time she is 8 or 9, she should be able to use floss all by herself.
Visiting the dentist for the first time
Your kid's first dental visit can be scary for the both child and Mom. However, with a little preparation and planning, you can relieve some of the anxiety for both of you.
- When should kids really first visit the dentist?
- A checklist for choosing a pediatric dentist
- Surviving your child's first dental appointment
- Insider tips for your child's first dental visit
Dealing with your child's first cavity
Oh no! Your child has a cavity. It can happen to even the most diligent teeth brushers. Find out what to do if your dentist recommends your toddler needs expensive dental work. Also learn about the difference between silver and white fillings and get other expert tips about cavities.
Tell us what the tooth fairy brings to your house. If it's money, what's the going rate for a tooth these days?