1.         Develop Proper Oral Hygiene Habits for Your Child  
Gently clean your infant’s gums and newly erupting first teeth after each feeding with a water-soaked gauze pad to clean around the teeth and gums.  When your baby’s teeth begin to erupt, brush them gently with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste.  When your child turns 2, you can begin to teach your child proper brushing techniques with no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. You should follow up their efforts by gently brushing the teeth again. Modeling correct technique is important. When your child is about 6 years old, she should be developing the dexterity to do it alone.

2.         Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Don’t let your child go to sleep with a pacifier or bottle filled with anything but water. When teeth are frequently exposed to sugar-containing fluids (including breast milk and formula) for long periods, the potential for decay increases dramatically.

3.         Avoid Sugar
Understand that if your child ingests sugars, it will take the saliva a minimum of 30 minutes to neutralize the acidity that is created by decay-producing bacteria. A sugary snack every hour can mean your child’s mouth is always acidic, increasing the chances for tooth decay.

4.         Make a Dental Appointment
Your child should see a dentist around the time of his/her first birthday and then regularly thereafter. Your dentist will teach you how to prevent dental disease, check for cavities in the primary teeth and watch for developmental problems, and set a positive precedent for future visits.  Ask your dentist about dental sealants and fluoride applications to protect your child’s teeth. Sealants can prevent food from getting stuck in the tiny grooves on the chewing surfaces and topical fluoride will strengthen the enamel against decay.

5.         Check Your Water
Determine if the water supply that serves your home is fluoridated. If it is not, discuss supplement options with your dentist. Keep in mind that toothpastes and various foods may also contain fluoride.  Also, if you live in a town with fluoridated water but you only drink bottled water or other bottled beverages you aren't getting the benefit of the water fluoride program. 

Here are some water fluoridation statistics for Sherborn, MA and certain neighboring communities:


Water Fluoridation Info

Sherborn, MA

No fluoridated public water supply

Ashland, MA

No fluoridated public water supply

Dover, MA

Most of town is well water at each home; a small section has fluoridated public water

Framingham, MA

Fluoridated public water supply

Holliston, MA

Fluoridated public water supply

Medway, MA

Fluoridated public water supply

Millis, MA

Fluoridated public water supply

Natick, MA

Fluoridated public water supply

Source:  Delta Dental of Massachusetts (www.deltadentalma.com/dental_plans/towns.asp)

If you have questions about your child's dental care, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Lily Ling at Sherborn Family Dental.

Dr. Lily Ling received her DMD from Tufts Dental School and completed an advanced education in general dentistry  (AEGD) residency at UConn Health Center.

Sherborn Family Dental
19 N. Main St., Ste 1B
Sherborn, MA 01770

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