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Children and teens

Table of contents

Oral health tips for kids

  1. A healthy mouth means a healthy body. It is important to keep your child’s teeth strong and healthy to promote overall good oral health.
  2. It’s never too early to start brushing. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which has smaller bristles and is easier to hold.
  3. When your child reaches 2 years old, brush his or her teeth every day with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  4. Brush teeth after eating, especially after meals with a lot of sticky, sugary foods.
  5. Make sure your child flosses each night before bedtime.
  6. Limit how much juice or soda your child drinks.
  7. Keep your child’s diet nutritious.
  8. Make dental visits a priority. You don’t need a fancy dental office. Just a clean, well-lit room with a friendly staff.

Oral health tips for teens

  1. Teens are growing up fast. And for some, the transition to adulthood can be a difficult one.
  2. Start brushing your child’s teeth at the age of 2. Be consistent and make it a daily habit.
  3. By the time your child turns 13, ask your dentist if he or she thinks your child needs fluoride varnish applied to the teeth.
  4. Be sure to floss regularly.
  5. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
  6. Your teen needs to know that dental disease is preventable.

Common oral health issues for children and teens

Your child’s first dental visit will help your family understand how to protect your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth. If you’re a parent or guardian, this visit may also be your opportunity to learn about your child’s oral health.

Children are more likely to develop gum disease than adults because they have not yet developed their full complement of adult teeth.

The best way to prevent tooth decay is by limiting sugary snacks and drinks, especially after meals. Limit the use of bottled or reusable water bottles and replace them with water cups or cups with straws.

Brushing and flossing daily helps maintain healthy teeth and gums. Brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time, and floss once a day.

Tooth decay is also a problem for children. To prevent tooth decay, limit sugary foods and beverages. Offer only water at bedtime.

By the time your child starts school, he or she should already have a first dental visit.

For the first dental visit, ask questions. You and your child should know:

  • When to see your dentist
  • What your child can expect
  • How to prepare your child for the dental office