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Oral Health Care Necessities for Children & Infants

Jan 18, 2011Back to Articles

Here's a list of dental care necessities from birth on up:

  • Baby Teeth Cleaning: Baby teeth should be cleaned as soon as they erupt. Clean your baby's teeth with a soft washcloth or gauze after every bottle or meal. When more than one tooth erupts, you can soak a small-bristled child-sized (age-appropriate) toothbrush in warm water before using it on your baby's teeth, as instructed by your dentist.

    Baby teeth should be brushed using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Use water without fluoride until approximately six months of age. Encourage your children to brush their own teeth once they have the coordination to do so. Replace toothbrushes every two to three months.

    Children's teeth should be brushed after they are given medicine. Acids contained in medicines may eat away at tooth enamel, which serves as a natural protective coating for the teeth.

  • First Dental Visit: It is important that your child see a dentist by age one to establish a long-term dental hygiene and professional dental cleaning plan.

  • Dental Sealant Application: Dental sealants are used to protect teeth from decay and are appropriate as soon as a tooth erupts.

  • Fluoride Treatments: Check with your dentist and water authority about the need for fluoride treatments. Fluoride is a major component in the prevention of childhood dental caries. This is because fluoride alters the molecular structure of the tooth, making it more resistant to acid attack and decay.However, children require the right balance of fluoride treatment. Too much fluoride could be problematic and lead to fluorosis.

  • Dental Flossing: Parent-assisted dental flossing should commence when two teeth erupt next to each other. Independent flossing should occur when children have the ability to do it on their own (often by six years of age).

  • Mouth Washing: Mouth washing is usually recommended by age seven, provided your child can perform the activity.

  • Orthodontics: Orthodontics may be appropriate by seven years of age.


Keep in mind that these age ranges are estimates only; you should follow your dentist's recommendations.

Source: www.yourdentistryguide.com/children [Updated May 2009]