Children’s teeth begin forming while they are babies still within the womb. They should start having their teeth cleaned as part of the daily routine as soon as the teeth show in the mouth. You can begin by just wiping the teeth off with a soft wash cloth and advance to a child size toothbrush as more teeth protrude. Both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend using an amount of fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice as soon as your baby's first tooth appears. You can graduate to a pea-sized amount when your child turns 3 years old. Brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Brushing teeth before bed is a very important step in decay prevention. Flossing teeth helps to clean and prevent decay in between the teeth.
Children typically do not have to ability to brush and care for their own teeth until age six or older. Do not let your child take a drink to bed with them, except for water. The sugars in milk and juice can lay on the teeth and cause decay. Usually around age six, your child can add Fluoride rinse to their routine at night. Talk to your dentist about your child’s fluoride needs. Prescription products and supplements can be prescribed to those who are not getting an adequate supply from water sources. Some bottled waters do not contain Fluoride and some filter systems may remove it. Ask your dentist about sealants. Sealants are a thin layer of material applied to the grooves of permanent teeth to help prevent decay. Your child should have a dental cleaning and check up every six months. Usually around the age of three is a good time to start unless a problem is otherwise noted. Your child will begin losing their baby teeth and start getting permanent teeth around the age of five or six. Permanent molars protrude around the age of six but come in behind baby teeth.