Preventing Tooth Decay in Young Children
Tooth decay, called dental caries, is caused by bacteria eating away the outer protective layer (enamel) of a tooth. Help prevent tooth decay in young children by adopting the following healthy habits:
Normal amounts of fluoride added to public water supplies and bottled water are safe for children and adults. If your child needs extra fluoride, your dentist may recommend supplements. Use these supplements only as directed. And keep them out of reach of your child. Too much fluoride can be toxic and can stain a child's teeth.
When your child's first teeth come in, start cleaning them with a soft cloth or gauze pad. As more teeth come in, clean teeth with a soft toothbrush. Because too much fluoride can be toxic and can stain a child's teeth, ask your doctor or dentist if it's okay to use fluoride toothpaste. For more information, see the topic Brushing and Flossing a Child's Teeth.
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