What... (i.e. camp, dance class, birthday party)
Pick a NYMetroParents Region: All Regions   Manhattan    Brooklyn    Queens    Westchester    Rockland   Fairfield    Nassau    Suffolk  




     Home  >  Articles  > How To Guides
by Laura Kelly


Parents often question the right way to care for their children’s teeth.  At what age should they start brushing and flossing?  Which toothbrushes and toothpastes are safe?  And what is the appropriate age to start regular dental check-ups?

   Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day — and this means kids, too!  An adult should assist in brushing until the child has the skills and dexterity to brush efficiently.  A good rule of thumb? When a child can tie her own shoelaces, she can brush her own teeth — usually around 5 or 6 years of age.  

   Try to have fun with teaching kids to brush. Do it together, set a timer for two minutes, then check out their teeth and tell them what a great job they did and how nice and clean their teeth are!

   Set a good example for your kids by showing them that you never, ever use your teeth as a tool for opening lids, chewing on pens, or anything else that may harm your teeth or gums.

  Learning how to floss at a young age is crucial to a child’s daily dental routine.  Even baby teeth benefit from being clean — and nothing cleans between teeth as well as dental floss.

   Sealants are an excellent solution to prevent tooth decay.  Be sure to see your dentist for sealants as soon as adult teeth start growing in. 

   Fluoride helps strengthen teeth while protecting against decay.  Using toothpaste with fluoride or fluoride prescriptions (drops or daily chewable tablets that come in different strength) is a great addition to one’s routine.  Even when the water supply is fluoridated, adding additional fluoride to their habits creates consistency, especially since most kids don’t drink much tap water. 

   Never put a baby to bed with a bottle of any liquid other than water.  Milk and juices contain both acid and sugar, which can quickly rot a baby’s teeth if they are in contact all night long.

   Schedule your child’s first trip to see a dentist as early as age 1. Be sure to schedule two visits per year; this will create a level of comfort and regularity for the child.  Routine checkups ensure that the dentist can diagnose any problems early, and make specific recommendations for each child.  Remember – prevention and early treatment are the best medicine!  

LAURA KELLY, a mother of two, is the first woman and dental ceramist to serve as president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).  AACD’s free patient referral system is at www.aacd.com or call (800) 543-9220.

Get Your FREE Indoor Activity eGuide!

More How To Guides Articles

Lice Survival Guide for Parents: How to Get Rid of Them for Good
How to Stay Motivated This Spring
How and When to Get Your Child to Speak Up to the Coach
Youth Sports: 6 Tips on How to Talk to Your Child's Coach
How to Teach Kids Financial Literacy and Money Management

Be a good fellow parent and share this with a friend who would be interested
Email Friend

Local How To Guides Sponsors

ABC Cakes
414 Mamaroneck Ave.
Mamaroneck, NY
ABC Cakes has been making fun and fabulous cakes, ...

Landmark Preschool
20 Portland Ave.
Redding, CT
Landmark of Ridgefield Academy is an independent s...

Ladybug Learning Club
Ladybug Learning Club is a family owned and operat...

Lil Divas Spa On the Go
Imagine your daughter sitting surrounded by her fr...

Party Perfection
59-36 Grand Ave
Maspeth, 7183662318
See Our How To Guides Directory

local zones


Nassau cont.


Suffolk cont.


Westchester cont.



Rockland cont.


Queens cont.


Brooklyn cont.


Copyright 2014 NY Metro Parents Magazine Site Design: THE VOICE