Help Your Child’s Smile Last a Lifetime


Help Your Child’s Smile Last a Lifetime

When your baby is teething for the first (or the third!) time, you are probably focusing more on her discomfort and unhappiness than how to care for her shiny new tooth. She may not want you to touch it, or bite your finger when you do, but that’s okay as it will change with practice.

While you will not take your child to see a dentist until she is around one year old, you can start building healthy habits and helping her take care of her teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.

Here’s What You Need to Know:

  • Once your baby has her first tooth, make it a habit to gently wipe it and the ones that follow with a washcloth or a soft toothbrush each evening before bed.
  • Do not put your child to bed with a bottle of formula or juice, as they both can cause tooth decay.
  • As soon as your baby has teeth, she can begin getting cavities.
  • Make an appointment to visit a pediatric dentist around your child’s first birthday.
  • Do you have questions about teething, thumb sucking, or using a pacifier? Have those ready for your dentist.
  • Begin talking with your child about her teeth and taking care of them. Once you are ready to visit a dentist, talk with her about what to expect.
  • Once she is one year old, you can gently brush your toddler’s teeth with a toothbrush and water or a small bit of non-fluoride toothpaste.
  • Talk with your dentist about when you should begin using fluoride toothpaste.
  • As your toddler gets older, make brushing her teeth more fun: let her help choose a toothbrush and toothpaste flavor.
  • Read books and watch videos on dental hygiene so that your children see it as an everyday practice that everyone does.
  • Use a timer or a favorite song to help your child brush for two minutes or more.
  • Your children will need help brushing their teeth until they are about seven or eight years old.
  • Swap out toothbrushes every three to six months, or when the bristles look worn.
  • Teach her that it is not how hard she brushes, but how well she does it.
  • Add flossing into to her daily regimen once she is a bit older. Talk to your dentist about what age it should start.
  • If your water does not contain fluoride, ask your doctor if your child needs to take an oral fluoride supplement.





Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions your family will make. You can begin your search by calling CCRI’s Child Care Search at 704.348.2181 to let trusted experts help you.