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Excellent oral care is important at any age, and starting your child young will help him or her cultivate good habits. Each child is specific in his or her dental needs, but there are a few rules of dental care that every parent should follow.

When it comes to keeping your child’s mouth healthy, you can’t start too young. Within a few days of birth, begin wiping your child’s gums with a damp, clean gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as your child starts teething (usually between six and twelve months), introduce the brushing process. Because children don’t develop good spitting skills until the age of three, they shouldn’t have a lot of toothpaste on their toothbrush. A rice-sized smear of fluoride toothpaste is plenty. Flossing should follow when your child has two or more adjacent teeth.

Bottle feeding should be closely monitored to prevent cavities. Avoid sugary drinks like fruit juice and soda. When putting your child to bed, leave all baby bottles behind to prevent tooth rot. If your child persistently requires a bottle at bedtime, fill it with water. Don’t dip pacifiers in honey or sugar to make them more appealing, as this increases the risk of cavities.

As always, if you have questions or concerns about your child’s oral health, contact Dr. Kristen Langworthy at 919-762-3239 or visit Langworthy Family Dentistry in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. As a family dental practice, we specialize in the dental care of your child.