Ten tips for parents to help build healthy oral habits for their children
Before your baby has teeth, wipe the gums gently with a clean wet cloth after each feeding.
If your baby sleeps with a bottle or sippy cup at naptime or bedtime, fill it with water only. Do not use the bottle or the breast as a pacifier.
If your baby normally falls asleep while feeding, brush his or her teeth before feeding.
Lift your baby’s lip and watch for changes in colour, lines or spots on your child’s teeth as these may be signs of potential problems.
As soon as the first tooth appears, start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bedtime. Put a small dab of toothpaste across a small soft brush. Wipe off excess toothpaste until the child can spit it out. Fluoride is a mineral that protects teeth.
Begin flossing at least once a day when your child’s teeth are touching.
Change your child’s toothbrush every one to three months or immediately after illness. Let your child watch you brush your teeth and assist your child’s tooth brushing.
To prevent spreading germs that cause tooth decay, do not put anything in your child’s mouth if it has been in your mouth. Don’t share spoons, cups, food, toothbrushes, etc.
Visit your dentist by the age of one year, or when the six months after the first teeth appear. Take your child to the dentist for regular checkups to make sure there are no problems.
Do not add sugar in any form (table sugar, honey, agave syrup) to your child’s food. Limit snacking between meals and before bedtime.