The above script is part of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) radio series 'A Minute for Kids,' which airs weekdays on WBBM-AM in Chicago, IL.
Parents often ask, when should I start cleaning my child’s teeth? Daily dental cleaning should start as soon as your infant's first tooth appears. Wipe the tooth with a piece of gauze or a damp cloth. By age 2, she should have her teeth brushed at least once a day, preferably at bedtime. However, she won't yet have the control or concentration to brush her teeth all by herself. You'll need to supervise and help her so that the brush removes all the plaque - the soft, sticky, bacteria-containing deposits that accumulate on the teeth causing tooth decay. Be sure to use a small, soft, nylon-bristle brush. Use only a small amount of toothpaste - until you see that she has learned not to swallow it. Swallowing too much fluoride daily can cause permanent tooth stains. If she doesn't like tooth paste, just use plain water for a while. The brushing and rinsing are more important than fighting about toothpaste.