How to Help Your Child Prevent Dental Decay

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The No. 1 dental problem among preschoolers is tooth decay. By age 5, nearly 50 percent of children have one or more cavities. Here’s how to help your child prevent dental decay.

Teach good dental habits.
Help your child brush her teeth two times a day with a child-sized toothbrush that has soft bristles.

Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, which helps prevent cavities.
If your child doesn’t like the taste of the toothpaste, try another flavor or just use water.

Teach your child not to swallow toothpaste.
Swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can create white or brown spots on your child’s adult teeth.

Clean each tooth thoroughly, top and bottom, inside and out.
A child cannot brush his teeth without help until he’s about 6-8 years old.

Avoid adding sugar to your child’s diet.
The longer and more frequently her teeth are exposed to sugar, the greater the risk of cavities.

Establish a “dental home” for your child.
By the time he is age 1, make sure your child’s oral health care is managed in a comprehensive and continuously accessible way by a licensed dentist.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics