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Oral Health Life Stages: 2-6 Years Old

By Jill Feilmeier on February 11, 2014 in Kid's Health

Mom on a walk with her toddler

Small changes in dental habits can have big effects on a child's dental health. It is important to begin promoting good oral health at an early age. Ages 2 to 6 are very important years, as the habits you teach your children during these crucial times are the habits they will carry with them into adulthood.

These are also the ages that children are most likely to develop painful cavities. Unbeknownst to many parents, cavities are nearly 100% preventable, yet tooth decay remains the leading chronic condition among children.

Risk Factors for Childhood Cavities Include:

Siblings with cavities before the age of 5
Use of a bottle or sippy cup with milk or juice at nap time or before going to sleep
Excessive sweets, such as juice or sticky foods
Infrequent brushing routine
Insufficient fluoride in water and lack of fluoride supplements
Chalky white spots on teeth

Dental Health Tips for Children Ages 2-6:

By the time your child is two, or by the time he or she can spit, start using a pea sized dab of fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to train your child to spit out the toothpaste and rinse afterward.

Help your child brush properly twice daily, until he or she has the motor skills to handle the toothbrush alone.

Your child's dentist will be able to spot any areas that may require extra attention when brushing. The dentist will also check for orthodontic problems, clean and polish teeth, apply a fluoride treatment, and maintain a dental history for your child.