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WEBSITE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health

Dental Do's — 12 to 36 months

  • Baby teeth are important. Tooth decay in baby teeth can be painful and can cause health problems like infections. A clean and germ-free mouth is a healthy place for teeth to grow.
  • Brush your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Brush your child’s teeth 2 times a day with a small smear of fluoride toothpaste on a baby or child toothbrush. The best times to brush are before bed and after breakfast. Teach your child to spit out the toothpaste. Do not rinse after brushing, it removes the protective fluoride.
  • Put your child to bed with hugs and love, not a bottle.  Stop using bottles when your baby turns one. If a child won’t sleep without a bottle, give them a bottle of plain water. Water will not harm their teeth.
  • Rethink the drink. Give your child milk or water with meals. Avoid giving Kool-Aid, Gatorade, Sunny Delight, Capri Sun, soda or other sweet drinks to your child – they cause cavities.
  • Eat well. Give your child healthy snacks like cheese, vegetable sticks and fresh fruit. Keep sweet foods like cakes, pastries and candy for special treats not everyday.
  • Lift the lip and look.  Children change quickly. Every month, lift your child’s lip and check all their teeth for the first signs of cavities.  If you see white or brown spots on the teeth or anything unusual, contact your baby’s dentist or physician.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse if your child needs fluoride varnish.  Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that is painted on teeth to help prevent new cavities and help stop cavities that have already started.
  • Take your child to the dentist. When your baby turns 1 year, schedule a dental check-up for your baby. Children should see the dentist at least once a year, more often if they have had cavities. If you do not have a dentist, ask your physician to check your child’s teeth
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