When your child's teeth first come in, you should clean them with a soft cloth or gauze pad. As more teeth come in, brush your child's teeth with a soft brush. Because too much fluoride can be toxic and can stain a child’s teeth, ask your doctor or dentist if it’s okay to use fluoride toothpaste. At 3 or 4 years of age, your child should be able to learn to brush on his or her own with your help. By 8 years of age, your child will probably no longer need your help. It is important that your child make brushing a habit, as this limits tooth decay and helps prevent cavities.
Although some children quickly learn to brush their teeth, others do not. If you are having trouble getting your child to brush, try some of the following suggestions.
You can also involve your child in dental health by letting him or her pick out a toothbrush and toothpaste. Talk to your dentist about the type of toothbrush your child needs, and steer your child in that direction. When choosing a toothpaste, stay clear of tartar-cleaning toothpastes, as they may taste bad or "sting" a young child's mouth. Ask your child if he or she likes the toothpaste, and change it if this is not the case.
Keep all fluoride products, such as toothpastes and mouthwashes, away from your child. Too much fluoride may be toxic and can stain a child’s teeth. Also, teach your children to spit out the toothpaste and not swallow it.
Most importantly, set a good example. Children imitate their parents, and if your child sees that you don't brush, don't seem to enjoy brushing, or do it too quickly, he or she might well do the same.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry|
|Last Revised||June 14, 2011|
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