In honor of National Fresh Breath Day, FoundCare’s Dental Department put together simple tips to maintain your child’s oral hygiene and take care of their teeth. Bad breath (also called halitosis) in children is commonly caused by poor oral hygiene, dehydration, or other medical conditions. The sooner children begin getting regular dental checkups, the healthier their mouths will stay throughout their lives.

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  1. Schedule routine check-ups every 6 months. The first dental visit is recommended by 12 months of age, or within 6 months of the first tooth coming in.
  2. Clean your baby’s gums daily. Until their teeth come in, gently wipe a damp washcloth over the gums to clear away harmful bacteria after each feeding.
  3. Start brushing as soon as the first tooth emerges. Use water and a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) with an infant-sized toothbrush.
  4. Brush twice daily for two minutes. Children between the ages of 2-6 should use a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste. Always supervise kids younger than 6 years old while brushing, as they are more likely to swallow toothpaste.
  5. Snack healthy! Fruit juice, sports drinks, fruit snacks, and sticky candies all pose serious threats to your child’s teeth. Give kids calcium-rich snacks like cheese or low-sugar yogurt. Fruits are also a great alternative.
  6. If you have to resort to candy – a chocolate bar is preferable to sticky sweets that can get lodged in between the teeth, even after brushing.
  7. Begin flossing. Once your child’s teeth touch, you can start flossing between them.
  8. Avoid sugary drinks and stick to good old-fashioned tap water. Water helps to rinse away any sugar or particles that can lead to cavities. Many municipal water sources contain fluoride, which the American Dental Association and U.S. Surgeon General recommend as an effective way to prevent tooth decay.
  9. Replace your child’s toothbrush every 3 months.