If your child chews gum, encourage him or her to choose
xylitol-sweetened or sugar-free gum. Xylitol has been shown to reduce the
amount of bacteria in the mouth and the chewing action helps increase the flow
of saliva. However this must not be done to excess or it may encourage teeth
grinding, which brings its own problems.
Use fluoride toothpastes and brush and floss your child's teeth
daily. The best way to prevent tooth decay is to use a fluoride toothpaste
every day. Fluoride toothpaste should only be used in children old enough to
spit out rather than swallow the toothpaste. When used correctly, the fluoride
seeps inside the tooth to reverse early decay. Brush your child's teeth at
least twice a day and after each meal or snack if possible. If brushing between
meals is not possible, at least rinse the mouth with water several times. Floss
your child's teeth at least once a day to help remove particles between the
teeth and below the gum line.
Brush your child's teeth after giving him or her medicine. Medicines
such as cough syrups contain sugar that bacteria in the mouth use to make
acids. These acids can eat away at the enamel - the protective top layer of the
Visit the dentist regularly. It is generally recommended that you
take your child to the dentist starting at about 6 months or at the sign of the
first tooth breaking through the gums. Getting regular dental check-ups will
also help catch any developing dental problems early.
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