How to care for your mouth
Tooth care basics:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes. Replace your toothbrush every three-to-four months. These brushing tips (PDF) will make sure you’re brushing your teeth correctly.
- Floss once a day. Review these flossing instructions (PDF) to ensure you’re flossing properly.
- Eat a balanced diet. Try to avoid a diet high in sugar.
- Schedule regular dental checkups.
If you have a baby you should:
- Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth after feedings. Remember: As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur.
- When your baby’s teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and water. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
If you have small children you should:
- Brush their teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Be sure they spit out the toothpaste. (Ask your child's dentist or physician if you are considering using fluoride toothpaste before age 2.)
- Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child's teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.
To learn more about how to care for your child’s teeth, and for other helpful resources visit 2min2x.org, which features:
- Tips on brushing, flossing and how to help prevent decay.
- Fun and instructional videos for your kids to watch while they brush.
- Nutritional information for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
- A checklist for keeping track of your children’s brushing routines.