Ways to keep your kids' teeth healthy

Posted at 1:11 AM, Feb 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-28 02:11:09-05

MILWAUKEE -- February is National Children's Dental Health Month. The most common chronic disease among children, is tooth decay.

Doctor Richard Klitch with United Healthcare joined us live on Daybreak Sunday, with simple ways to keep your child on the right track to have healthy teeth for life.

This includes you should never put baby to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or fruit juice, as these drinks can form a sugary film on the baby’s teeth and lead to decay and infection.

Also, starting at birth, clean the baby’s gums with water and a soft cloth or child-sized tooth brush. Once a child reaches age two, parents can start brushing a baby’s teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush and a smear-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste, making sure to teach the toddler to spit out the toothpaste.

Schedule the baby’s first dental visit when his/her first tooth comes in, usually between the child’s first six to 12 months.

Help your child brush twice a day with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. For a children three to six, this means a pea-sized dab. When your child is pre-school age, assist with brushing to make sure teeth get clean and that your child does not swallow toothpaste, which may expose them to too much fluoride.

Begin flossing when back teeth begin to come in. This is important because toothbrush bristles can’t reach between teeth, leaving them vulnerable to bacteria.

Take your child to the dentist regularly and ask about sealants and fluoride supplements, which make the tooth enamel strong and help to protect it from decay. For most children, that means visiting the dentist twice a year.