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Patient Center

Oral Hygiene Best Practices

Children’s hands and mouths are different than adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children with bigger handles and soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush about every three months or earlier if the bristles become frayed.

For infants, wipe the teeth gently with moist gauze or a clean soft cloth. As babies grow, use a child’s toothbrush with a smear of toothpaste. When your child can spit — between 2 and 5 years old — you can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to clean the teeth. Until your child can tie his shoes, he will need help with brushing his teeth. Even after that you will need to check for areas that may have been missed. Dr. Harvey can recommend methods to inspect your child’s mouth and motivate the young child toward good brushing habits.


Helpful Tips For Brushing Your Child’s Teeth Properly

  • Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth, top and bottom.

  • Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush the chewing surfaces.

  • Gently brush the tongue to remove debris.

  • Floss between teeth daily.

  • Create a tooth brushing routine and stick to the same routine each day.

Dietary Recommendations

Just like the rest of your body, the teeth, bones and soft tissues of the mouth require a well-balanced diet. Everyone should eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups.


Most snacks that children eat can lead to cavities. The more frequently your child snacks, the greater the chances for a cavity forming. How long food stays in the mouth without being rinsed either by water or saliva is important. For example, hard candy stays in the mouth longer which may cause attacks on the tooth enamel. If your child must snack, choose nutritious foods such as vegetables, low fat yogurt or low fat cheese. Rinsing the mouth after snacks is also a good idea.


Healthy Eating Tips For You And Your Child

  • Avoid sticky foods that don't rinse off of teeth easily.

  • Never put your child to bed with a bottle of formula, milk, juice or immediately after breastfeeding (teeth should be brushed, rinsed or wiped afterwards).

  • Limit snacking and juice intake. Our Pediatricians recommend no more than 4-6 ounces of juice daily.

  • Nutritional counseling is part of our first appointment at Growing Smiles. We will talk with you about foods and habits to promote healthy teeth.

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