Oral Hygiene for Children

  • Beginning at birth, infant’s gums should be cleaned with a soft toothbrush or washcloth, and water at bedtime.
  • Once the teeth have erupted, it is suggested that children’s teeth are brushed two times per day and flossed one time per day.
  • Children cannot brush or floss their teeth without help until they can cut meat with a fork and knife (approx. age 8-10). 
    • Children tend to brush the surfaces of the teeth towards their lips and cheeks and miss the back teeth.
    • It is strongly encouraged that the parent also brush and floss the child’s teeth to provide adequate cleaning coverage of all the teeth.
  • Fluoridated toothpaste can be safely used as soon as the first tooth is erupted. If the child cannot spit, a smear of toothpaste is adequate, about the size of a grain of rice. Once the child can spit, a small amount can be placed on the toothbrush, about the size of a pea.
  • Xylitol, a natural sugar, can be found in sugar-free gum and mints.
    • It helps to reduce bacteria that cause cavities.

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