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9 Tips to Prevent Childhood Tooth Decay

Getting kids to take proper care of their teeth can be a challenge, but Captain Smiles can help! He’s pulled together some proven tips to help your kids develop great dental hygiene habits early.

  1. Follow the rule: 2 X 2:  Brush a minimum of two times per day—for two minutes each time. Keep a timer by the sink to make it fun. Brushing after meals is best and as part of your kids’ nightly bedtime routine. 
  2. Rinse after every meal:  Brushing after every meal is not always possible, so encourage your child to do a quick rinse with water. This simple trick helps to wash away food that causes decay.
  3. Visit your dentist regularly: Kids should see a dentist when their first teeth appear between six months and their first birthday, then twice annual dental cleanings and exams are strongly advised to keep teeth healthy and plaque free.
  4. Floss early, floss often: Once a child’s teeth start to fit closely together, it’s time to teach them the habit of daily flossing. You’ll have to take the lead at first, then they’ll get the hang of it by the time they reach 8 or 10 years old.
  5. Tap is terrific: Water is the way to go! Encourage your kids to drink water when they’re thirsty instead of juice or soft drinks.  Water washes away decay-causing bacteria, plus most U.S. tap water is enhanced with fluoride which helps build strong tooth enamel.
  6. Fluoride is your friend: In addition to drinking tap water, give your kids fluoride toothpaste. Plus, talk to your dentist about fluoride treatments. Treatments are quick, easy and effective—and many dentists offer fun flavors!
  7. Lock out decay with dental sealants: Dental sealants provide a layer of super-protection for the deep grooves on a child’s 6 and 12 year molars. They protect the enamel from plaque and acid and can last up to 10 years.
  8. Eat (and drink) tooth-healthy foods: Healthy foods build healthy teeth. Tooth-healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain snacks, peanut butter and yogurt stimulate saliva flow and won’t get stuck in the grooves of your little ones’ teeth. Juice, milk and sweetened drinks are a part of many kiddos’ diets, but they can result in the growth of acid-creating bacteria that causes tooth decay.
  9. Captain Smiles says, “Make dental health fun!” Help your kids embrace healthy habits that will last a lifetime by making dental care fun. Let them pick out their favorite toothbrush (kids love battery-operated brushes). Buy age-appropriate toothpaste in flavors kids enjoy. Make brushing a family affair – brush your own teeth along with your kids, incorporate songs and games into their brushing and flossing routines, find a kid-friendly dentist, reward good check-ups, and serve plenty of tasty, nutritious snacks and drinks that build strong teeth.

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