I’m often asked, “When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?”  Or, “When should my child start going to the dentist?”

According to the article “Smiles for Tomorrow” on DentalCare.com, children from low-income families are more at risk for dental caries than children from higher income families.  In fact, immigration children are 3 times more likely to have a higher rate for caries development.

Parents should begin cleaning a child’s mouth as an infant using something as simple as a clean damp washcloth or a silicone-chewing toothbrush after each feeding.  These two items can help remove breast milk or infant formula from the gums prohibiting the residue from accumulating and causing irritation.

Thereafter, a child should have his or her first dental visit by the age 1 or when 8 teeth are present.  I often remind parents to never put a child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup with milk, juice, or 50% soda and 50% water combined, etc.

Parents doing so will increase the chances of the child’s teeth demineralizing, causing cavities to form.  After the last meal of the day, parents should assist the child with brushing and flossing and giving water to the child at bedtime.

La Tonya Butler, The Tooth Fairy

Author, RDH, CDA