How to care for baby teeth to promote a life of good dental health
When those first baby teeth appear, it's time to start teaching little ones about good dental health. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams consults a pediatric dentist about when kids should have their first dental appointment and she shares tips on brushing.
ROCHESTER — A life of good dental health begins in childhood. Dr. Elise Sarvas, a pediatric dentist at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry says that kids should learn how to care for their teeth early to help prevent problems before they happen.
"The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend having your first dental visit at the sign of the first tooth or at their first birthday. Whichever comes first," Sarvas said. "At that visit, we'll not only show you how to clean teeth, especially on a on a wiggly 1-year-old, but also we'll talk about healthy foods for teeth, how to prevent trauma in teeth and what to expect moving forward with growth and development."
The American Dental Association website notes that when kids get their first teeth, parents or caregivers should help them brush twice a day (morning and night) with a baby tooth brush and a tiny bit of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. When kids are ages 3 to 5, parents should still help them brush twice a day for 2 minutes each time with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
The ADA says parents should continue to supervise brushing until their kids are 6 years old and they're able to spit out the toothpaste on their own. It's not meant to be swallowed at any age.
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