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Moms Expertise

How to take care of toddler's teeth?

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12/18/14

When the first baby teeth start to pop up, you can graduate to a toothbrush. Choose one with a:

soft brush
small head
large handle

At first, just wet the toothbrush. As soon as teeth erupt, you can start using a bit about the size of a grain of rice. You can increase this to a peas sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when your child is 3 years old. Brush gently all around your child's baby teeth -- front and back.

You should brush your baby's teeth until he or she is old enough to hold the brush. Continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance. That usually happens at around age 6.

Keep on the lookout for any signs of baby tooth decay -- brown or white spots or pits on the teeth. If you or your pediatrician notices any problems, take your child to a pediatric dentist for an exam.

Even if there isn't a problem, your child should go for his or her first dentist visit by age 1. The dentist can give you advice about:

baby tooth care
teething
fluoride
thumb sucking

In addition to caring for baby teeth, you need to protect them. To prevent cavities, only fill your baby's bottle with:

formula
breast milk
water
Avoid giving your child fruit juices, sodas, and other sugary drinks. Sweet drinks -- even milk -- can settle on the teeth. This can lead to baby tooth decay -- also known as "baby bottle tooth decay." Bacteria feed on the sugar from sweet drinks and produce acid, which attacks baby's teeth.

If you have to send your baby to bed or naps with a bottle or sippy cup, fill it with water only. Also avoid putting anything sweet -- such as sugar or honey -- on your baby's pacifier.

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