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4 Tips for Using Books to Help your Kids Love to Brush

A common myth surrounding early oral health is that baby teeth are not as important as permanent adult teeth. However, oral health is the gateway to long-term health. Helping your kids love to brush their teeth as soon as their first tooth emerges will set them up for a lifetime of good oral health habits.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, books are a great way to promote early oral health. While you and your child read together, you are teaching them about brushing, good habits, and literacy. It’s a great combination!

It’s a great idea, right? But how do you make it a habit? And how can you help your kids love to brush by using books? Here are our 4 tips to get you started!

  • Find the perfect books! There are many great children’s books available. One favorite is Brush Your Teeth, Please (2013) by Leslie McGuire. This pop-up book presents different animals brushing their teeth. Kids use tooth brushes inside to practice on the animals while you read together. Ready Set Brush (2008) by Sesame Street is another great pop-up book option. Kids recognize Elmo and other characters they already trust. If Elmo brushes his teeth, clearly your kids should brush their teeth, too!


  • Make reading and brushing a routine! Children thrive on routines, so make reading and brushing part of that bedtime and morning ritual. First, brush your teeth together. Then, let them pick their favorite book to read before either shutting off the lights and going to bed or going about the rest of your morning. It’s important that you do this together, as that is what supports the importance of both brushing and reading.


  • Have a special toothbrush for their stuffed animal! Does your child have a bear, doll, or other stuffed animal they carry everywhere? If so, use that to your advantage. Have your child brush their “teeth” as part of play and routines. Doing so will help them practice the proper motions while also having fun.


  • Bring books to your dentist’s office! Since early oral health care is important, helping your child grow accustomed to visiting the dentist’s office should start early. Bring your child’s favorite brushing book along on your visit and read it in the waiting room. Doing so will help them understand their upcoming appointment and create normalcy around the visit.


Are you ready to get started? Head to your local library or bookstore as a family to find your perfect brushing book today. There is no better time to support your child’s early oral health than right now.


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Dentistry for Children – Keeping Little Mouths Healthy

You can your little ones on the path to good dental habits begins before they even have teeth. Why would you think about dental health before your baby has a single tooth? Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean their teeth aren’t there. Teeth begin to form in the second trimester of pregnancy, and by the time your baby is born, he or she will have 20 primary or “baby” teeth, and some of will already be fully developed in his jaw!

It Starts with the Gums

Even before your baby starts teething, get into the habit of running a clean, damp washcloth over her gums to clear away harmful bacteria.

Caring for Tiny Choppers

Once your baby’s teeth start coming in, brush them with an infant toothbrush. Use water and a tiny bit (about the size of a grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste. (Use a brand that has the ADA seal of approval.) Using a tiny amount is best in case she swallows any saliva while you’re brushing. Brush gently on the inside and outside of each tooth.

As soon as your baby’s teeth touch, you can add flossing in between them to the routine.

Starting around age two, let them brush their teeth themselves, under your supervision. Remind them to spit frequently to avoid swallowing toothpaste. Once they reach age three, let them use a bit more toothpaste — a dab about the size of a pea. Keep supervising the brushing process until they’re around six years old. You want to make sure they have the coordination to do a good job brushing and that they don’t swallow any toothpaste.

Establish Good Feeding Habits

Even a baby can develop tooth decay if he or she goes to sleep with a bottle every night. Sugars from milk or juice that stay on baby’s teeth overnight can eat away at the enamel and cause a condition known as “bottle mouth”. Pitted or discolored front teeth are signs of the condition, and, if severe enough, it can cause cavities and make it necessary to have their front baby teeth pulled out. (Their permanent teeth will replace them eventually.)

Letting your baby or toddler suck on a bottle all day can also do damage, so try to establish regular eating and bottle times rather than letting them have their bottle whenever they want it. Try to switch them to a “sippy” cup by the time they’re six months of age, even if you have to hold it until they develop the motor skills to hold it themselves.

Their First Visit with the Dentist

The ADA recommends that children see a dentist by the time they reach their first birthday. The dentist will likely let you hold your baby on your lap while she does an exam, and will go over proper brushing and flossing techniques with you.

This first visit is important for a couple of reasons:

  1. It gets your child acquainted with going to the dentist so they’ll feel more comfortable during future visits.
  2. Potential problems can be spotted early and fluoride treatments can start even before your baby has all his or her primary teeth.

Prevent Cavities

Limit sugary treats and juices, which can cause cavities. If you establish good habits early, your kids will have an easier time keeping them later on. Taking care of their teeth will become part of their daily routine, thanks to your early diligence!


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Dentistry for Children – What You Need to Know

The first year of your child’s life can feel like a whirlwind. Time is flying by so fast, you probably feel like you’re barely keeping up. In the midst of all the craziness, it’s important that you take some time to give a little attention to your baby’s mouth and teeth.

What You Need to Know

  1. When should I take my child to the dentist? – The ADA recommends that you take your child to their first dentist visit before their first birthday.
  2. When should I start brushing my child’s teeth? – The ADA says you should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they appear. This is because “as soon as teeth appear, decay can occur,” according to the ADA.
  3. How often should I brush my child’s teeth? – The ADA recommends that you brush your child’s teeth twice a day. You can start flossing as soon as they have teeth to floss between.
  4. When will I start seeing baby teeth? – You can expect to start seeing those little baby teeth around the 6-month mark.

Having Trouble Getting Your Kids to Brush?

For some kids that are old enough to say no, brushing is just an inconvenience they don’t want to deal with. After all, there are better things to do like racing cars around the room or finding something to climb on. If these are your kids, try coming up with a tooth brushing song! If you can make brushing their teeth something fun and interactive, they are more likely to get into the habit of doing it, and are less likely to put up a fuss about it. Need some ideas? Here are 7 tooth-brushing tunes to get you started.

Good Habits are the Foundation of Dentistry for Children

Building good oral hygiene habits when they are young is essential to making sure your kids grow up with healthy smiles. Brushing twice a day and flossing are two of the most important habits they can get into, and will go a long way towards preventing more serious issues down the road. And of course, regular checkups and cleanings at the dentist will help catch any problems before they become too serious.


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Important Habits During the School-Year Rush

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the difference.

It’s easy to skip good dental care when we are rushed. We’re tempted to think no one will notice. But, over time, good dental care can make a huge difference in our child’s health. With school back in session, being rushed is inevitable.

Here are some important things to remember.

  1. Protecting against cavities is worth the effort. A cavity is a hole that is formed when bacteria (germs) in your mouth use the sugar in food to make acid. This acid eats away at the tooth, forming the cavity.
  2. Diet makes a difference. When your child eats sugary food and then goes hours without brushing their teeth, that acid (as described above) will form. Keep sweets at a minimum and feed them more fruit and vegetables.
  3. What they drink makes a difference, too. Don’t give your children sugary drinks such as soda. And, try to limit fruit juice.
  4. Brushing twice a day is a must. Once in the morning and again before bed with a soft bristle toothbrush is genuinely important.
  5. And of course, regular check-ups at the Smile Center. Trained professionals can see things that the average eye can’t.

As with all good habits we teach our children, these will not go without a pay-off. Less time in the dentist’s chair and a beautiful smile on their face will give us the satisfaction of knowing all our efforts were well worth it.


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