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kidsbrushingOctober is National Dental Hygiene Month.  Good dental hygiene is important for people of all ages but is particularly important for children and infants. It is important to begin an oral health and dental hygiene regime as soon as your baby is born.

Dental Hygiene Tips

  • Bottles, Pacifiers, and No-Spill Cups:
    • Never put a baby to sleep with a bottle, pacifier, or no-spill cup
    • Offer only water from sippy or no-spill cups
    • Wean infants from the bottle by 12 months
    • Avoid cleaning the pacifier with your own mouth as this spreads bacteria and germs and never dip a pacifier in sweet foods or syrups

 Brushing and Cleaning the Teeth and Mouth:

    • Wipe infant gums with a clean, soft washcloth after each feeding to establish good oral health habits early
    • When the first tooth erupts, use a child-sized soft bristled toothbrush with a smear (about the size of a grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste twice daily (morning and night) to brush the child’s tooth.
    • Floss as soon as there are two teeth touching
    • For children 3 to 6 years, brush or help to brush and floss their teeth. A pea-sized smear of fluoridated toothpaste should be used when brushing twice daily (morning and night)
    • Teach child how to spit out their toothpaste
    • Caregivers should supervise brushing and flossing until age 7 or 8 years old
  • Healthy Diet and Role Modeling:
    • Diet plays a large role in dental hygiene
    • Limit sugary foods and drinks and offer lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grain, and low-fat dairy at snack and meal times
    • Limit sticky foods like sugary gum, fruit roll-ups, candy, and dried fruit as these foods adhere to teeth and can cause dental carries
    • Find a ‘Dental Home’ for your baby by age 12 months. Cleanings should be every 6 months
    • Lead by example! Eat healthy foods and brush with a fluoridated twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time and make sure you clean between the teeth.

For more information on oral health and dental hygiene, visit the Oral Health webpage!

Written By:

Health and Human Service Coordinator

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