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Dental care for your children should begin as early as possible - even before they're born. Because a child's teeth start forming during the fifth week of pregnancy, expectant mothers can ensure healthy baby teeth by eating a balanced diet. Nutriotnal deficiencies of calcium, phosphorus and other vitamins and minerals can result in the abnormal growth of baby teeth, which may affect the eventual development of permanent teeth.
Here are some other tips to help your child form a lifetime of good dental hygiene:
- Cleaning a child's teeth should begin when the first tooth is visible - at about age six months - because teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth. Wipe the baby's teeth and gums with a soft, damp washcloth or gauze pad.
- Studies have shown that children who drink fluoridated water from birth have up to 65 percent fewer cavities, and by the time they become teenagers, many of them still have no tooth decay.
- Children need a balanced diet to help the development of their bodies, including teeth. Make sure your child drinks plenty of milk and eats other calcium-rich foods. Discourage snacks that are high in sugar or starch and sticky foods.
- Pay special attention to your child's teeth during the teen years, when almost all premanent teeth are in. Decay most often occurs during this time, due to dietary changes and inadequate dental hygiene.
- Regular at-home preventative care - brushing and flossing after every meal- can help keep dental problems to a minimum. From age 2, children should begin to brush their own teeth with a parent's help. After age 8, children can brush and floss alone, with an occassional check by an adult.
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing your child to the dentist before his or her birthday, followed by visits every six months.
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Article provided by www.deltadentalins.com, Delta Dental Insurance Company
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