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What steps can I take to help maintain my child's healthy teeth?

Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak and have a good-looking smile.

The ADA recommends that parents take children to a dentist no later than their first birthday and then at intervals recommended by their dentist. When your child's teeth start to appear, brush them with a child's size toothbrush and plain water. At the direction of your dentist, some children under two may benefit from the use of fluoride toothpaste. For newborns, clean the baby's gums with a clean wet gauze pad or washcloth. Until your child is six or seven years old, continue to brush his or her teeth twice a day with a child’s size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and continue to assist with flossing as needed.

Teaching your child good oral hygiene habits early can lead to a lifetime of good dental health. 
There are three important steps you can take to maintain your child's healthy teeth. First, brush and floss on a daily basis. Second, limit your child's consumption of sugary foods and drinks. Third, schedule regular visits to the dentist. Beginning between the ages of 1 and 2, you should brush your child's teeth twice a day. As soon as your child has consecutive teeth, you can begin flossing. Avoid sticky sweets such as fruit rollups or hard candies. Sugary drinks, including juice, should also be limited or avoided altogether. Your child should visit the dentist for a yearly checkup beginning sometime after his or her first birthday.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.