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Children’s Oral Health
Oral health begins at an early age. Good cleaning habits start even before a baby’s first tooth erupts. Gently cleansing the mouth with a soft washcloth after feeding cleans any residue from staying on the tongue and other oral tissues. When the first teeth erupt, it is important to gently brush with an infant sized soft toothbrush after eating. Natural sugars in milk and formulas can cause cavities, even in a small child. Parents need to continue cleaning their child’s mouth for them as toddlers and even older. Children learn oral habits from parents and siblings, so it is important to set a good healthy example.
Be sure to send your children to bed without sippy cups and bottles, and only let them have drinks for meals and snacks. Just like with adults, frequent eating of starchy foods and drinking of milk, juices, sports drinks, and sodas will contribute to cavities.
Since tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in elementary aged children, prevention is so important. Gum disease can also be seen in kids and adolescents. Children and teens need to have healthy snacks and drinks available, and good hygiene habits in place. Fluoride applications and toothpastes can help with cavity prevention. Keeping dental appointments is important for tooth health and development.