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  • Caring for your child’s teeth

    February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, so the folks at Oral B have asked me to share some information with you. Here’s what they have to say about cleaning your child’s teeth:

    Children’s oral health needs differ throughout their childhood, so parents need to encourage good habits early on. Teaching healthy oral care early in a child’s life will make for happy smiles in the future.

    When to Begin:

    • Clean newborn baby’s gums with a damp washcloth following feedings to prevent the buildup of plaque, bacteria that accumulate on teeth and cause decay.
    • When their child’s first teeth appear, parents should brush them for two minutes twice a day to begin instilling the recommended regimen, focusing on the teeth that conduct most of the chewing and back teeth where cavities often first develop.
    • To make brushing a fun experience, brush with your child to set a good example, and sing a song or recite a nursery rhyme for two minutes to help along the brushing process.
    • Visit the dentist when children’s first teeth come in. A good rule of thumb is: “First visit by first birthday.”

    Why is it important to take care of your child’s teeth from infancy? Because more than 50 percent of five to nine year-old children have at least one cavity or filling.


    1. Don’t forget about tooth injuries to baby’s teeth! They can lead to abscesses and low-lying gum infections that can affect permanent teeth. I know–I split my chin in a fall in kindergarten, but I had a gum infection that wasn’t caught by the dentist until it had already killed two adult teeth. Root canals, rods, and crowns to follow… My 3 y. o. is going thru something similar after she knocked-in her front teeth in a fall four months ago.

    2. Are many people really bringing their less than one year olds into the dentist? It seems a little overkill.

    3. Clean ClutterFree Simple says:

      My two little ones have been to the dentist every six months since they turned 1. No cavities now (they’re 8 and 4), and they brush and floss every day. Tip for flossing kids: use a floss holder. Not the one-use ones, they’re waaaay too expensive and wasteful but the ones that look like a handle.

      I had tons of cavities as a kid due to bad habits and not wanting to floss daily, so I want the kids to have a better start.

    4. Chief Family Officer says:

      @Yune – Yikes! I didn’t know about that, I’ll definitely keep it in mind from now on. Thanks for the heads up.

      @Jen_nifer – I’m Clean Clutterfree Simple. I have too many cavities, I really want my kids to avoid my fate!

      @CCS – Good for you! I feel the same way, I want my kids to avoid the problems I had. Thanks for the tip on the floss holder – as soon as the dentist suggests we use one, I’m getting one of those holders. Is there a brand you’d recommend?

    5. Thanks for contributing this post to this week’s Carnival of Family Life, hosted at Modern Sage — Practical Living Blog. The Carnival will be live tomorrow, so please stop by and peruse all of the wonderful articles submitted this week!

    6. We got a late start on going to the dentist due to lack of insurance, unfortunately…but, my kids (ages 5 and 6 now) go every 6 months now and have for the past 2 years, so we are doing well now. Before then, we did brush and floss, though. 🙂 I have to admit, though–it can be a challenge to get young boys to floss all the time!