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Healthy Steps to Help Your Child Have Healthy Teeth Now and as Your Child Grows

You can develop good simple oral health practices and prevent oral disease by following these steps:

  • Do give your child healthy snacks like fresh fruit and vegetables.

  • Don't give your child starchy or sugar-containing foods and snacks.

  • Do give your child a bottle with milk or formula at feeding time and sugar-free liquids at other times.

  • Do encourage your child to drink from a cup. A child should be weaned from the bottle by 12 to 14 months.

  • Don't dip your child's pacifier in sugar-containing drinks. Keep the pacifier clean.

  • Don't put your child to bed with a bottle unless it contains only water.

  • Do gently brush your child's teeth with a soft brush for 2 minutes at least twice a day. For children under age two, use plain water. For children over two, use a very tiny amount of toothpaste.

  • Do help your child brush their teeth at least until age 7.

  • Don't rinse with water after brushing!

  • Do be sure to brush before bedtime, it is very important.

  • Do teach your children how to brush properly, reaching every surface of each tooth.

  • Do take your child to the dentist by their first birthday.

  • Do speak to your dentist about the use of fluoride.

  • Do speak with your dentist about the use of pacifiers and finger sucking habits your child may have.

  • Do clean each toothbrush weekly by placing the bristle end in boiling water or by placing the toothbrush in the dishwasher or leaving it overnight in mouthwash, then rinsing it with hot water before using it.

  • Do replace all toothbrushes every three months.

As your child grows up, continue the good dental health practices you started when your children were younger. Here are other things you will need to know about your children's teeth and oral health as they grow up:

  • Make sure your child has a dental home (regular dentist).

  • Teach children to floss when permanent teeth come in. This should be done every night before bed, before brushing teeth.

  • Ask your dentist about the use of sealants when your child's adult back teeth start to come in (around five or six years of age).

  • Ask your dentist about a mouth guard if your child plays contact sports.

  • Ask your child's dentist about the dangers of oral piercings in lips, gums or the tongue. They can severely harm teeth or gums.

  • Talk with your child's dentist about the use of tobacco products and what you can do to help your child understand the dangers of using tobacco.

  • Most importantly, Stick to the dental plan!.

  • We are always adding to the number of dentists and dental locations participating with the HUSKY Health plan, making it easier for you to find a practice that is close to your home, place of work, or child's school.

  • Your children should visit their dentist by their first birthday.

  • Children should be seen twice a year (every six months) or more often if required by the dentist or if there are problems such as pain or discomfort.

  • Adults should be seen at least once a year or as recommended by their dentist.

  • Don't wait until it hurts to see your dentist.

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