Beautiful Smiles Start Early

Did you know that your baby’s beautiful smile begins before birth? Regular prenatal care and a healthy diet including calcium help strengthen your baby’s teeth before birth. In fact, experts recommend that expectant mothers visit the dentist because hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause gum issues that may affect the health of your baby. Once your baby is born, early and regular dental care will help her keep her beautiful smile, now and in the future.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children see a dentist no later than their first birthday or when their first tooth appears

But dental care isn’t just about good looks for kids. Did you know that toothaches from cavities cause more school absences than any other disease? Missing school has a real effect on a child’s learning. Early dental care sets him up for pain-free teeth—and for succeeding in school and life. In celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, here are some tips for tooth care:

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children see a dentist no later than their first birthday or when their first tooth appears. Practice “opening wide” with your child in preparation for seeing the dentist.

Wipe your baby’s gums with a soft, wet cloth after eating. When teeth appear, use a soft infant toothbrush.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a small smear of fluoride toothpaste when his first tooth emerges (at about 6 months) through age 2. From ages 3 through 6, increase this to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

Never put your baby to bed with a bottle (the sugars in liquid sit in the mouth and can cause problems), dilute juice, and limit sugary snacks and drinks.

First 5 LA is proud to present videos featuring UCLA dentists and others on how to keep your child’s teeth and mouth healthy.—and help them have a smile that lasts a lifetime.

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