Dental problems can begin early—This is a reason that the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) recommends that your child visit a dentist by age 1. A big concern is Early Childhood Caries, also known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries. Once a child starts eating solid foods and has more than just breast milk, teeth are at risk for decay. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle containing anything other than water. Juice should only be offered in a cup with meals or at snack time, never in a bottle. Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.

By the time your child is 1 year old, your daily routine should including brushing your child’s teeth once a day, using a half pea size amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste. At this age, children do not have the ability or dexterity to brush their own teeth effectively so parental assistance is required. If children are not able to spit, parent should wipe out their mount with gauze or a clean clothe to get excess toothpaste out.

The earlier your child’s first dental visit occurs, the better chance you have of preventing dental problems. Children with health teeth chew food easily and smile with confidence. Start your child now on a lifetime of good dental habits.

Check back next week for our next topic, “All About Fluoride”

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