Routine cleaning/wiping of a baby’s gum with a clean wash cloth is recommended soon after the baby is born. Most babies teeth do not erupt until around 6 months of age, however this will help to ensure healthy gums when the teeth erupt and also establish good oral hygiene habits and better acceptance. A fluoridated toothpaste can be introduced as early as 18 months of age, or when the child’s one year molars appear. Use only a small, half-pea size amount of toothpaste or less to reduce the amount that can be swallowed. Working with your child to ensure that he or she is able to adequately spit out the excess fluoridated toothpaste will also decrease the amount of fluoride consumption. Brushing 2 times a day is recommended as well. By the age of 2-3, your child should have their first visit to the dentist. Regular dental exams every 6 months will ensure your child’s teeth, muscles and jaws are developing normally. Baby teeth maintain space to guide the permanent “adult” teeth into position. Stop thumb sucking or pacifier use before permanent teeth erupt. These habits can influence the growth and development of the jaw and change the position of your child’s teeth. Sometimes the damage is corrected over time if the habit is stopped sooner rather than later. Most cities now have the fluoridated drinking water. If you live in an area where fluoride is not in your water or you have well water, use an over-the-counter fluoride rinse or buy fluoridated bottled water. A dentist or a pediatrician can also prescribe fluoride drops or tablets for you to use if necessary. It is recommended that children under 7-9 years of age should receive an adult’s help with brushing. Younger children do not have the dexterity to do a sufficient job at brushing. With an independent child, let your child take a turn first and then you can brush afterwards. Helpful Tips to Prevent Childhood Cavities Helpful Tips to Prevent Childhood Cavities Avoid bottles and / or sippy cups with juice or milk before and during bedtime. Water is recommended if you feel the need to give your child a drink at bedtime. Candy and sugar can be consumed quickly and NOT frequently. It is better to have your child consume these drinks and snacks quickly and be finished, rather than sipping or snacking on them all day. Repeated and frequent consumption of soda, juice, sweet tea, sports drinks, candy, etc can lead to rampant tooth decay. Acid in soda is just as or more harmful to your teeth than sugar. Most people are not aware that even diet soda is very acidic and will cause damage as well. A parent’s dental health is as important as your child’s. Children observe adult behavior and model these habits. There are many health conditions / diseases that are linked with poor dental health and gum disease. Examples: High Blood Pressure Stroke Heart Attack Diabetes Heart Infections (Bacterial Endocarditis) Pancreatic Cancer Pre-mature Labor / Low Birth Weight COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) These tips are for your personal information brought to you by the hygienists of Groveport Dental Group.