The bad news? Your children can begin getting tooth decay as soon as they have teeth. The good news? Tooth decay is preventable. The key to preventing it is by helping your child to form teeth-healthy habits while they are still young.

When they are a baby, begin cleaning their mouth with gauze or a washcloth. As soon as their teeth begin to appear, you should brush your child’s teeth with an amount of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. You want to introduce “teeth-brushing” into your child’s routine very early on. Explain the importance of brushing your teeth to your child so they understand why they must do it twice every day.

Once your child reaches age three, you can up the amount of toothpaste to more of a pea sized amount. You should still continue to help your child brush their teeth to ensure they are doing so thoroughly and to ensure they are not swallowing any toothpaste.

Once you are confident that your child can brush their own teeth, you can introduce that possibility. This will be around the same time that your child’s teeth will begin to touch and you will need to begin a flossing routine for them as well.

And of course, don’t forget the dentist checkups. Bring your child into RiverRock Dental at least once each year so either Dr. Todd Christianson or Dr. Nicholas Navarro can make sure your child’s smile is looking bright and healthy.