New Dental Health Guidelines for Babies

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When I was swimming in the new-mom waters, thinking about how to keep baby teeth clean wasn’t top of mind for me. How to get him to sleep through those nights of painful teething was more of a priority. That said, I did read up and learned that it’s important to keep those baby gums and teeth in top shape now for better dental health later.

Guidelines have recently been updated by the American Dental Association on when to start using flouridated toothpaste. Until just recently, the guidelines said no flouride for the babies until 2 or older because it can be toxic to children in large amounts, and a large amount isn’t much for a baby. New guidelines from the ADA steer parents to go ahead and start brushing those tiny little teeth as soon as they pop up with flouridated toothpaste, using just a smear and no more than the size of a rice grain on a toothbrush until children reach age 3. After he reaches age 3, use a pea-size amount on the brush. These new guidelines have come about because a recent report indicating that more than 25 percent of children in the U.S. are developing cavities before kindergarten and report from the American Academy of Pediatarics that states tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children.

So though I believe this new rule can be useful to future dental health of our society’s children, let’s just use a little common sense and be sure the toddlers and preschoolers of the world are brushing two times each day for two minutes at a time, and watch the sugar intake. Sugar is the cavity culprit. Between sugary juices, cookies, candy and ice cream, on top of natural sugars in fruit, it’s important that kids brush twice daily and don’t skip. Even if you hear some whining to get them to do it, that beats a trip or more to the dentist for fillings.