First Trip to the Dentist

Good Habits at Home

Follow these tips to put your child on the road to a bright, healthy smile.

  • Stop sucking habits as soon as possible. They lead to potential tooth misalignment.
  • Choose a soft, kid-size brush. Replace the brush every three months.
  • Use no more than a pea-size amount of toothpaste on your child's brush. This offers adequate fluoride and protection from fluorosis, a damaging oral condition caused by overingestion of fluoride.
  • Help your toddler brush after breakfast and before bed. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children under 8 brush with parents' help.
  • Avoid starchy and sugary snacks. They stick to teeth and increase the risk of decay.
  • If your child is unable to brush, rinse her mouth with water to wash away food particles and sugar.
  • Call your community's water department to find out whether your water is fluoridated, and talk to your dentist about the best fluoride treatment.

Copyright © 1999 Isadora Fox. Reprinted with permission from the September 1999 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2010

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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