Healthy teeth and gums are as important for children as they are for you. And some of the most common childhood oral health problems are ones you might share with your children. Here are some important dos and don’ts when it comes to keeping those pearly whites healthy — for both you and the kids.

Do visit the dentist regularly

Cavities are one of the biggest problems for our patients, and most of the time, they’re preventable. While six months is the “standard” time between dental visits, if you or your children could be at higher risk for cavities, you might need to visit us more often.

Do bring them in early

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends that children see a dentist by their first birthday, but some parents wait until their kids are much older. When you get them in early, we can educate you and your kids about proper home care and diet, and their visits are likely to be less stressful in the future.

Don’t brush off the importance of good care from the start

At first, you only need to wipe your baby’s teeth off with a wet cloth after he eats or drinks. You can “graduate” to a toothbrush, and as soon as she has teeth that are touching, start flossing.

Do monitor their brushing and flossing

Adults are supposed to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss once or twice each day – and so are kids. We tell our parents that oral care is something they actually need to help manage until your child is about seven or eight years old. And even your teens may need regular (annoying) reminders to brush and floss.

Don’t let snacking sneak up on you

Families need to establish regular snack and meal times to help reduce all-day sugar exposure on the teeth. This goes for adults, teens and little kids. Plus, don’t send your babies to bed with juice or milk.

Don’t hesitate to call

If you wonder whether you should or shouldn’t with your child, call us: (800) 717-KIDS.