Your child is healthier with a healthy mouth.

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Oral health is important to children’s overall health, even for very young children.  Because baby teeth eventually fall out, they often don’t get the attention they deserve.  But baby teeth matter.  They are important to children learning to speak and help guide adult teeth into place.

Painful cavities in baby teeth can harm a child’s ability to eat, sleep and learn.  They can also lead to lifelong oral health problems, because the germs that cause cavities in baby teeth can lead to cavities in permanent teeth, and poor oral health is linked to other serious health complications including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  Taking care of baby teeth means your child is more likely to have good oral health throughout life.

Cavities are caused by infectious germs 

Many people don’t know that cavities are caused by infectious germs, and these germs can be spread via saliva (typically from moms to babies) by sharing food, utensils, or even kisses.  This is why it is so important for women to get dental care during pregnancy.  Any dental problems should be fixed before giving birth.

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Here’s the good news.  Kids don’t have to get cavities.  In fact, cavities are easily preventable.  Starting early with good home care and regular checkups can help ensure that your child enjoys a lifetime of better oral health.  Plus, it makes sense to prevent cavities, rather than paying to fix them.

Tips to protect your child’s teeth and health 

Start early to prevent cavities

  • By age one take your child to a dentist or physician for an oral health screening.
  • If you put your baby to sleep with a bottle, use only water.
  • Brush your child’s teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel.
  • Start flossing as soon as teeth touch. Flossing should be a lifelong habit, just like brushing.
  • Ask your child’s dentist or physician about fluoride varnish, which is painted on teeth to prevent and even heal early decay.

Healthy snacking promotes healthier teeth

  • Choose tooth-healthy snacks such as nuts, cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Sugary beverages including juice, sport drinks and soda cause cavities and obesity.
  • Drink water for thirst, it’s the healthiest option.
  • Avoid “grazing” which means snacking and drinking sweet liquids continually throughout the day.

Be a role model for your child

Set an example for your child and take care of your own mouth.  Make daily brushing and flossing part of your health routine, choose healthy snacks and drinks, and get regular oral health checkups.

A smile leaves a lasting impression. It’s how we show joy, friendship and love.  A healthy smile with healthy teeth is important for your child’s self-esteem and confidence… now and in the future.

Visit TheMightyMouth.org for more information on protecting your child’s oral and overall health.