Prevent Kids’ Tooth Decay
You can prevent tooth decay for your kids by lowering the risk of your baby getting the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Make sure you take good care of your baby’s teeth – this reduces the number of bacteria in your baby’s mouth.
Decay Prevention Tips
- Don’t share saliva with your baby through sharing spoons, licking their pacifiers or pre-chewing their food.
- After each feeding, wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth. This will remove plaque. When your child’s teeth begin to break through the gums, brush them gently with a child-sized toothbrush and water.
- Do not use fluoride toothpaste for children under 2 unless advised to do so by your dentist or other health professional.
- When your child is able to spit out and not swallow toothpaste (usually not before age 2), begin brushing the teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
- Brush your children’s teeth until they are able to do so themselves, usually around age 8. Then, supervise their brushing to make sure they brush thoroughly 2min2x (2 minutes, 2 times a day) and spit out the toothpaste afterward.
- Place only formula, milk, breast milk, or water in baby bottles. Infants should not be put to bed with a bottle.
- If your child uses a pacifier, give them one that is clean — don’t dip it in sugar, honey, a sweetened liquid or put it in your mouth first.
- Encourage your children to drink from a cup by their first birthday and don’t let your child sip all day from a training (sippy) cup with sweetened beverages.
- Encourage healthy eating habits that include a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Serve nutritious snacks to your kids and limit sweets to mealtimes.
- Make sure that your kids get the fluoride they need. Discuss your kids’ specific fluoride needs with your dentist or pediatrician.