Age: between 18 months and 2 years old

Teach your children how to brush their teeth

 
Be sure to brush at least once a day, best at bedtime. Adding a second brush time after breakfast is even better.
 
Don’t rush the brush. A brushing should take at least 3 minutes.
 
A pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste is all your child needs.
 
Use a soft-bristled brush and gently brush the teeth. Brushing too hard can cause gum damage. Be sure it is the right size (generally smaller is better than larger).
 
Tilt the bristles (at a 45-degree angle) to the teeth. Slide the tips of the brush under the gums. Jiggle the bristles gently so that plaque growing under the gum is removed.
 
Be sure to brush all sides of the teeth -- the outside, the tongue side, and the chewing surfaces. For the front teeth, brush the inside surfaces of the upper and lower jaws. Tilt the brush and make many up and down strokes. The front part of the brush should go over the teeth and gum.
 
The toothbrush will only clean one or two teeth at a time. Change its position to best clean each tooth.
 
Replace the brush when the bristles begin to spread. A worn out toothbrush will not properly clean your child’s teeth.
 

Good eating habits. Snack Facts

 
Eating a lot of snacks that have sugar may give your child cavities.
 
Limit snacking between meals. When eating many snacks, the acid in the mouth is high. High acid levels can help make a cavity. Try to avoid sugary foods like gum, hard candies, and suckers that stay in the mouth for a long time.
 
Limit the eating of soft, sticky sweets that get on and in between the teeth, like chewy candy or raisins. Sticky foods stay in the mouth longer and the acid can decay the tooth.
 
Do reduce the damage that can be caused by sweets by serving sweets with other foods or drink.
 
Your child needs to eat many kinds of foods: breads, milk and milk products, meat, vegetables and fruits. Do give your child snacks that are low in sugar like vegetables, fruit, cheese, or pretzels.
 
Brush your teeth after eating. It is important to prevent getting cavities.
 

Early Warning Signs of Tooth Decay

 
See your dentist if you notice:
  • Small white spots on teeth
  • Swelling of the face
  • Tiny holes in enamel
  • Pain in mouth
  • Tooth sensitive to heat, cold, or sweets
  • Tooth painful or sensitive when chewing

Going to the dentist

Keep visiting the dentist every 6 months for a check-up.
 
Tell your child that the dentist will count your teeth and clean your teeth to make your smile bright and healthy.
 
Don’t talk to your child about pain – it will scare them. Don’t use the words drill or shot.
 
Don’t tell your child scary dentist stories. Don’t let brothers and sisters tell scary stories either.