Seven Steps to Healthy Teeth

Encourage good dental hygiene to help children build good habits that will last a lifetime.

  1. Provide a variety of nutritious foods, especially those rich in calcium. These foods help strengthen permanent teeth as they form and keep the gums and mouth healthy when the teeth come in.
  2. Limit sugared and sticky foods and drinks. These items promote cavities.
  3. Teach children to brush their teeth after every meal and snack. For infants and toddlers, as soon as their baby teeth erupt through their gums you can wipe the teeth with a soft, moist cloth after meals. By three and four years of age, children can already learn correct brushing and flossing. Children over four years of age can learn to brush their teeth by themselves.
  4. When brushing isn’t possible, have the children rinse with water after meals and snacks.
  5. Give a child a bottle to drink before getting into bed to help the child fall asleep without risking cavities. Infants and children should never be allowed to take a bottle to bed. The milk or juice remains in the child’s mouth and slowly decays teeth during sleep.
  6. Limit sweetened soft drinks. The contents of these drinks may actually steal calcium from teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities.
  7. Set a good example by eating healthy foods and brushing your own teeth after meals.

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